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April 4, 2017

4 Surprising Stats around Women in IT

One might guess that it could be difficult to re-enter the workforce after taking the time off; but, do you know just HOW hard it is to do so? And, can you imagine trying to return to the ever-changing world of technology after a break? In this post, originally featured on York Solutions, Brandi Will shares the shocking statistics focused on women returning to the workforce, as well as how the program she launched aims to change these stats and make a difference in the IT community!

The stats are staggering…

  • 90% of highly qualified women who voluntarily leave the workforce (average of 2.7 years) to raise children say they want to resume their careers, but only 40% successfully secure full-time employment *
  • When a woman leaves the workforce, she loses 18% of all her future earnings forever in the 1st year out and 38% after 3 years** – that’s ALL future earnings FOREVER!

After reading those, one might ask - is it worth taking time out of the workforce? Of course, a decision like that is so personal that there’s no “right” answer. A better question to ask is – why is the penalty so high for women who choose to take on the under-appreciated role of family manager? And, what can we do to change it? 

A Shining Example

So there I was on a bright, sunny, crisp April day in a coffee shop meeting with a woman who was looking for a job in the IT field. She explained her background as an application developer and how she had a degree in Management Information Systems. She went on to explain how difficult it was for her to find a job within IT after taking 13 years off to raise 3 children. I was impressed with her background, and the fact that she took the initiative to keep her skills sharp while she was busy managing everything at home and volunteering. I made a few suggestions regarding updating her resume and LinkedIn profile and connected her with our recruiting department.

Being an IT consulting firm, I thought we’d be able to help her find a job pretty easily – I was wrong. No one was interested in a person with a career gap. Her story stuck with me and then I began to hear similar stories while at my own children’s school events and through colleagues whose spouses were struggling to re-enter the workforce. As you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve thought of a few people in a similar situation!

How We Decided to Help

I couldn’t let it go and felt determined to find a solution. With the enthusiastic support of our CEO and Chairman of the Board, we decided to do something about it and started a new program called Barriers to Entry. Through this program, we developed a comprehensive training curriculum around the foundational skills in Project Management, including an Agile Certification. And, our specific mission is to utilize the life experience of our participants and help them turn it into a new career opportunity in IT project management.

Who doesn’t know a mom with inherent, top-notch project management skills? The career gap shouldn’t be looked at negatively by a hiring manager, but rather as time spent heavily training in disaster recovery (diaper explosion while out in public), scheduling (planning a child’s birthday party), relationship building (teachers, coaches, babysitters!), negotiation (being in the grocery store half done with your list when your child sees a toy section), conflict resolution (“she’s lookin’ at me, he hit me”) …need I go on!?!   

Current Standings

Here are a few more stats to consider…

  • 56% of Professional U.S. jobs are held by women, but only 25% of IT jobs are held by women
  • InformationWeek listed Project Management as the #2 tech skill in short supply

There’s a real untapped market here that’s full of highly qualified and skilled individuals that are ready to step up and help address the challenges companies and IT departments are facing today.

Sources:

* A study published by the Center for Talent Innovation in 2010

**According to Samantha Ettus, Author of The Pie Life

Do you know someone looking to re-enter the world of technology or change careers? Learn more about the B2E program here!

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Posted by: Jaclyn Roman

Tags:  York Solutions, Barriers to Entry, B2E Program, Women in IT

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