9 Reasons Why Women Leave Tech Jobs - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // Team Building & Staffing
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Cynthia Harvey
Cynthia Harvey
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9 Reasons Why Women Leave Tech Jobs

If you think most women quit because they just don't like working in IT or because their jobs don't offer the work-life balance or parental leave they need, think again.
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It’s no secret that the IT community has a diversity problem.

A report from the World Economic Forum found that just 23% of computer and mathematical jobs are held by women, and only 5% of information and communication technology CEOs are women. Large technology companies pat themselves on the back for modest 1-2% gains in the number of women they employ, even though less than a third of their workers are female. At Apple 32% of the staff is female. At Google 31%. At Microsoft 27% — and only 20% of the technical roles are held by women.

Some might question whether or not these figures really matter. After all, a corporation’s primary responsibility isn’t to be fair — it’s primary responsibility is to make money for shareholders.

But the truth is that companies that employ more women make more money.

A 2018 study published in the Harvard Business Review revealed that companies with above-average diversity had 19% higher revenues and 9% greater margins. Simply by adding more women to the management team, companies could increase their revenues by 2.5%. And enterprises that had instituted diversity-friendly practices like equal pay, participative leadership, top management support for diversity, and open communication generated up to 12.9% greater revenue.

Most tech leaders seem to understand that bringing more women into the industry would be very good for them. Many have supported training initiatives and are actively recruiting more women. And some companies, like Apple, have been particularly successful at hiring more young women.

But the problem isn’t just with recruitment. Women also leave tech jobs at much higher rates than men do.

A report from The Center for Talent Innovation found that 52% of highly qualified women quit their jobs in science, engineering and technology. A separate study from AnitaB.org revealed that women leave tech companies two times faster than men do. In addition, 56% of the few women who work in tech leave by the time they have reached mid-level jobs, resulting in the fact that women are three times less likely to have senior technical roles than men.

Why do they leave?

To find out, Indeed.com conducted a survey that asked 1,000 women in technology why they had left previous jobs. It also asked them other questions about challenges they had experienced in the workplace and issues that were important to them. The results revealed nine key elements that play a role in women’s decisions to leave IT jobs.

Interestingly, those reasons for leaving may not be the ones you expect.


Cynthia Harvey is a freelance writer and editor based in the Detroit area. She has been covering the technology industry for more than fifteen years. View Full Bio

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