Government // Leadership
03:57 PM
Wayne  A.  Brown
Wayne A. Brown

In Higher Education, Fewer Women Graduate To CIO

Plenty of women hold leadership positions in higher education technology departments. So why is the percentage of females in the CIO seat declining?

12 Open Educational Resources: From Khan to MIT
12 Open Educational Resources: From Khan to MIT
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The TLs were also asked who is in charge when the CIO is out of the office. Among the males, 23% said they are in charge, 34% said the role is rotated among staff, and 43% said they are not in charge. In comparison, 20% of the female TLs said they are in charge, 28% said the role is rotated, and 52% said they are not in charge. This difference in on-the-job training may be having an impact on the female TLs' preparation for the CIO role.

The individual's degree and major have also been important factors for the higher education CIO. The TLs are getting the message, as the percentage of TLs with advanced degrees continued to climb. The percentage of female TLs with advanced degrees was 74% versus 62% of the male TLs. This difference will have a negative impact on male TLs who aspire to the CIO role, especially when you consider that 95% of the institution management team (IMT), other VPs and presidents said that the higher education CIO should have an advanced degree.

In addition, 24% of the male TLs and 30% of the female TLs have bachelor's degrees, 1% of females and 7% of males have associate's degrees, and only 1% of the males and females have a high school or equivalent degree.

[ Are you willing to break the rules? See Rules For Radical CIOs Part 1 and Part 2. ]

There was less consensus about what major a CIO should have. The majority of CIOs have degree majors from five areas -- technology, business, education, leadership/management and administration. The TLs also claimed the majority of their majors from these same five majors.

Seventy percent of the male TLs had these majors, versus 68% of the female TLs. The one major that stood out was technology, where 38% of the male TLs have a major versus 20% of the female TLs. This could be a significant difference, considering that 51% of the IMTs indicated a technology major was required for the CIO role.

Tech Leader Degree Majors
Tech Leader Degree Majors

Overall, there are differences between the TLs' genders that might have an impact on their ability to be competitive for a CIO position. The male TLs without an advanced degree will not be competitive for the CIO job, and more of them indicated they had no one helping them as a mentor. The differences in female TL mentoring by their own CIO, leadership OJT opportunities and the technology major could play a part in the continued downward trend for the percentage of CIOs who are women. There might also be a time delay between some of the positive trends seen in the research and a change in the percentage of CIOs who are women.

We'll continue to explore the subject over the next couple of years and look for changes. The CIO report and the accompanying technology leader report will be available from Center for Higher Education CIO Studies (CHECS) in late June.

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Some Other John Barnes
Some Other John Barnes,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/19/2013 | 8:52:54 PM
re: In Higher Education, Fewer Women Graduate To CIO
As an outsider stats junkie/back seat driver, I'm wondering if you've looked at how long the organizational path from new hire /starter to CIO is, and how long people are spending per rung. 26% to 21% is a big drop -- figured on its true base it's more like 20%, i.e. one in five of the female CIO positions has been switched to male in the last five years. But the "retire in the next 10" statistic is also revealing; people don't get to be CIO until they're a good deal closer to retirement than to startup. And the most common cause of a precipitate decline in plans to retire, IIRC, is people retiring (a person who retires is no longer counted as "planning to") So if 15 years ago or so there was a big surge in numbers of CIOs, but not in number of people sliding into the just-below slot, then as that earlier wave retires you're going to see some drifting down from the old achievements. Is there a leak in the pipeline somewhere below CIO, or was there a surge caused by a temporary now-closed fast track?

Just some more angles to try. As you rightly say, the data looks both concerning and puzzling.
User Rank: Apprentice
6/21/2013 | 5:50:07 PM
re: In Higher Education, Fewer Women Graduate To CIO
Thank you for the feedback and thoughts. I'll think about a way to try to get to looking for any "leaks".
User Rank: Author
6/20/2013 | 3:03:27 PM
re: In Higher Education, Fewer Women Graduate To CIO
One number that puzzles me is the "CIO interest" figure holding steady, even as the number of tech leaders rises. Is the CIO role in higher ed changing in such a way that it is becoming less appealing to women? Is this a matter of timing? I.E., some women (and men) delay their final charge to become CIO to coincide with family demands. But then they do make that charge. Perhaps some of both. Let's hear from some female IT leaders in higher ed on this topic.

Laurianne McLaughlin
User Rank: Apprentice
7/9/2014 | 6:24:22 AM
Women should acquire higher education
Education is for all women should acquire higher education to become powerful.

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Eliza Bilbie
Eliza Bilbie,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/6/2014 | 12:45:06 AM
Re: Women should acquire higher education
Higher education is necessary for women as for men because if men died or was unable to work than women can do the work.|Dissertation writing uk||Dissertation Proposal in UK|
User Rank: Apprentice
10/13/2014 | 7:17:43 AM
Women accquire postion in the technology department
It is true that education is the most important part for women student, in this moderen world where education is becoming the part of life, women are encouraging in the higher education and taking postiong lead in the technology department, whereas degree is concern the main source for any student life, however to submit any degree it is require dissertation writing for the submission of degree. 
User Rank: Apprentice
9/6/2014 | 6:46:49 AM

I have to study a different way. It usually doesn't matter too much to me because I know I'll pull off a good grade in the class and work my way back up because I always do.

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