Fairies Wear Boots: Women in Tech Statistics for 2020

While they make up nearly half the American workforce, the percentage of women in tech amounts to only 20%. When it comes to women in leadership positions, the figures are even lower.

What is the cause of this huge gender disparity in the tech industry? In an attempt to avoid conformist, traditional, generic explanations, we looked into dozens of reports, studies, and surveys across the US, UK, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Top Women in Tech Statistics: Editor’s Choice

  • The most male-dominated industries when it comes to positions of power are construction and high-tech manufacturing: 87% men, 13% women.
  • One in four tech and healthcare startups have a woman on the founding team.
  • 20% of all jobs in technology are held by women
  • Of all ICT patents, 88% have been registered by all-male teams.
  • After about 12 years, approximately 50% of women leave their jobs in STEM fields.
  • The average percentage of women directors in the Silicon Valley 150 increased 3.0% to 17.7% in 2018.

This page presents women in tech statistics from a wide variety of reputable sources: the American Psychological Association, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Business Insider, the inclusive Tech Alliance, and many more. We looked into why women pursue degrees and jobs in STEM fields in fewer numbers and what happens when they enter the workforce. We looked into the root of the problem, potential solutions, and the benefits that would come with more women in the tech workforce.

Women in Tech Trends

1. Women make up 47% of United States workers.

(Women Tech Council)

What percentage of the US workforce is female? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women are increasingly breaking down industry barriers. Not only do women make up nearly half the workforce – they are also penetrating traditionally male-dominated sectors. A recent LinkedIn study found that there has been a noticeable increase of women workers in STEM industries, including construction, medicine, physics, architecture, public safety, and agriculture. What percent of the population is female? The current female population is 49.6%.


2. Industries with the most men in positions of power are construction and high-tech manufacturing: 87% men.

(JPMorgan Chase & Co.)

A 2019 JPMorgan Chase report found valuable data on the male to female ratio in technology-industry positions. In construction, as many as 90% of people holding positions of power are men, while only 10% are women. And yet, women consistently make higher first-year revenues when they lead small companies – no matter the field. Women in high tech statistics indicate that women are more likely than men to own a small business in a service industry. As a matter of fact, women own over half of the small businesses in personal services.


3. In 2018, one out of three people employed in the high-tech sector was a woman.

(Eurostat)

Positions of power in the high-tech industry – positions like CEO, founder, and owner – are largely reserved for men. It is possible for women to find employment in technology, however, according to 2019 research by Eurostat. These women in high tech stats are based on employment in high-technology sectors in Europe. In the global race for competitive advantage, it is essential to create, exploit, and commercialize new technologies. High-tech sectors and enterprises are key drivers of economic growth and productivity, and generally provide good-paying jobs.


4. Just 56% of tech startups have at least one woman in an executive position, and only 40% have at least one woman on the board of directors.

(Silicon Valley Bank)

Silicon Valley Bank’s women and minorities in tech statistics reveal a discouragingly small number of female executives and directors. When it comes to gender equality in tech jobs, small businesses in Canada, China, and the US are still typically run by men. However, there is progress: More and more women are occupying leadership positions and joining startup boards. Innovation happens when people of different perspectives and fresh viewpoints come together. By this measure, we must do better — but there are already some high notes.


5. Almost 50% of women in tech say their companies do not prioritize diversity.

(Booking.com)

A slightly larger number of women (56%) feel that their companies do prioritize diversity. Booking.com’s gender gap in technology statistics show us that there’s still a long way to go. Tech companies need to show greater commitment not only to hiring women, but nurturing their talent. The world needs more female experts in the tech field to maintain a quality, skilled workforce.


6. A quarter of tech and healthcare startups have a woman on the founding team.

(Silicon Valley Bank)

To put it simply, it’s an all-male board for three out of four tech and healthcare startups. All-male teams decide how these businesses are run, who gets promoted, who gets laid off, and how money can be made. Startups with a woman on the founding team are more likely to have a female CEOs or COOs. Still, the predominant leadership role of a woman in most companies is still heading HR.


7. In 2018, women held less than 20% of all tech jobs.

(Evia)

What percentage of women work in technology? The percentage of women in tech varies depending on the country, but the persistent dominance of men in STEM fields persists throughout the world. In some countries, motivating girls and making them feel more confident about their success in STEM has shown tremendous results. Women in tech stats can, therefore, be improved. Some countries don’t have a developed tech industry anyway, so in Slovakia, only 9.29% of the tech workforce is female.


8. In Canada, 40% of tech and healthcare startups have at least one woman on the board of directors.

(Silicon Valley Bank)

Silicon Valley Bank says 60% of those startups have at least one woman in an executive position. Although we often hear that there is a lack of female technology leaders, the reality is that more and more women are becoming involved in leadership positions or launching startups. It will take a while to achieve a perfect state of gender equality, but it is encouraging to compare the current figures with stats from recent years.


9. Only 5% of tech and healthcare startups with an all-male founding team have a female CEO.

(Silicon Valley Bank)

A 2019 survey with 1,337 respondents came up with this predictable figure. The Women in Technology Leadership 2019 survey also found that 63% of companies with all-male founding teams had women as HR chiefs. These women in tech statistics suggest that the traditional gender roles in the nuclear family household seem to be replicated within corporate culture. Women are still primarily burdened with handling workplace tensions and relationships.


10. 59% of tech and healthcare startups have some sort of program to increase the number of women in leadership positions.

(Silicon Valley Bank)

However, it’s worth noting that it mostly depends on the makeup of the founders. Almost two-thirds of the companies (65%) that have a woman on the founding team have such a program, while only 57% of startups founded by men offer a program to increase the number of women in leadership positions. Diversity in tech statistics also show that affirmative action can add to financial gains, creativity, and overall productivity.


11. Only 38% of US companies set targets for gender representation.

(Women Tech Council)

To solve the gender inclusivity issue in the tech industry, one must first admit there’s a problem. One popular misconception about women in tech industry jobs is women’s supposed lack of interest in technical fields. To address this issue, many tech companies and women in technology organizations have worked to increase awareness and provide access to technical education for girls and women.

Women in STEM Sciences

12. Women today are 33% more likely to study computer science compared with women born before 1983.

(Women Tech Council)

Women in tech history statistics from the 2019 WTC Inclusion Report show us that STEM subjects are more popular than ever. The belief that there is not a current pool of female tech talent is simply inaccurate. Women have made enormous strides in education. Women in computer science statistics indicate that they are in actuality more likely to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees than their male counterparts, and they are increasingly choosing to major in STEM disciplines. While the computer science gender ratio in education has changed immensely over the last couple of decades, the work and wage gaps lag behind.


13. Overall, 83% of men in the UK are studying STEM subjects at school, compared to 64% of women.

(PricewaterhouseCoopers)

Women in technology statistics, if done properly, should start with the earliest stage of the career cycle – education. A PwC study conducted in the UK found that gender bias starts in school. Even in their formative years, girls are discouraged from joining in on STEM subjects. More boys participate in research and study all STEM subjects than girls, a disparity that starts in grade school and continues through biology. The only exception? Biology.


14. 53% of girls say their preferred career was a factor in their choice of A-Levels, compared to just 43% of boys.

(PricewaterhouseCoopers)

A further finding is that girls are more influenced than boys by their likely choice of career when choosing A-Level subjects. Apparently, girls are thinking ahead – but the futures they’re envisaging for themselves don’t involve technology careers.


15. Almost 40% of women that earn a BA in engineering quit the profession or never try to work in the field.

(American Psychological Association)

The APA report suggests that the trouble for many women within the technology industry comes after graduation. The traditional explanation: They leave to start families. Data refutes this idea. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 49% of women who work say that they work primarily because they are the family’s main breadwinner. The lack of women in technology, as research has shown, has more to do with perceptions about workplace opportunities than women’s interest in STEM.


16. Only 25% of New Zealand technology businesses have equal representation in their leadership teams.

(MYOB)

MYOB reports that 41% to 60% of the leaders of New Zealand tech firms are women. Women in tech statistics in New Zealand have revealed particularly progressive trends. In spite of their high representation in leadership positions, however, almost 50% of New Zealand’s female tech leaders say they have personally experienced gender bias during their careers.


17. Companies with more women on their executive teams are 21% more likely to outperform the national industry median.

(McKinsey & Co.)

Women are not only needed in tech to increase innovation, but they do quite a lot for increasing corporate revenues. According to McKinsey, if you want to drive originality and make more money, take a good look at your tech company gender ratios. More revenue in technology brings higher funding for research, innovation, and development.


18. Women account for about 16.8% of people employed in the UK tech sector.

(Inclusive Tech Alliance)

What percentage of software engineers are female? Reports indicate that only 12.5% of programmers and software developers are women. ITA women in IT statistics reveal that the UK needs another 400,000 women in IT to set things right in the sector gender imbalance.

Challenges for Women in Tech Industries

19. About 50% of women leave their jobs in STEM fields — mostly computing or engineering.

(American Psychological Association)

This worrying figure is common among nearly all tech fields. According to the American Psychological Association, the career break happens after about 12 years. Women in technology are held back by a multitude of factors, but not the ones that first come to mind. These women include female breadwinners. Women in tech retention statistics show that family factors cannot account for the differential loss of female STEM workers. The real problem is a lack of inclusivity in the workplace.


20. Currently, more than three in five women who have re-entered the tech industry after a break think the break was detrimental to their careers.

(Booking.com)

Women in technology statistics show that re-entering the workforce after a break has a number of negative consequences for women. Still, there is hope, as there is a rise in “returnships,” according to research from Booking.com.


21. 70% of women returning to tech believe that women in tech scholarships, training, and mentorship programs can help them cope after a career gap.

(Booking.com)

Women in tech events, training, re-skilling, up-skilling, and mentorships can help female workers re-enter their fields with flying colors. An occasional women in tech conference or a women in tech meetup can also do wonders for workers. When it comes to helping employees, business leaders, and business owners overcome re-entry challenges, these programs have proven useful, according to research from Booking.com.


22. 23% of women who leave tech jobs cite weak management support as the reason.

(Tech Republic)

Lack of opportunity comes second at 22%, and lack of work-life balance (20%) comes third as the chief reason women make career breaks. Technology and gender roles research has yielded surprising results. A 2019 report from Capital One confirmed that home and family obligations are not the primary issues holding women back.


23. Out of the women who stay in tech, 73% say they considered leaving their careers due to limited opportunities for advancement.

(Tech Republic)

As many as 27% cited unfair compensation compared with male peers. And 22% said they considered leaving because of poor management support. These women in business stats show that workplace issues, not demanding responsibilities at home, are holding women back.

Why Women Stay in Tech

24. 56% of women who stay in tech cite the satisfaction of being good at their jobs as the reason.

(Tech Republic)

The thrill of living one’s dream and contributing to society is what keeps women going – despite the many challenges. The enjoyment of working with other technologists came second at 44%, and their love for the work (43%) came third.


25. What keeps women CEOs on the job? 39% love the intellectually challenging work and 31% appreciated the tech world’s work-life flexibility.

(Tech Republic)

Women need work that will bring out the best in them, testing their limits and capabilities. Executive women attribute their success to their own grit and determination (30%). Unfortunately, external environmental factors like not having management support or not earning fair pay end up driving women from their jobs.


26. 78% of students can’t name a famous woman working in tech.

(PricewaterhouseCoopers)

“Famous women in tech” seem to be little more than a listicle that young people read and instantly forget.


27. Women-led private technology companies achieve an average 35% higher return on investment.

(Women Tech Council)

Research also shows that venture-backed companies led by women bring in 12% higher revenue than male-owned tech companies. The 2019 WTC Inclusion Report includes tech company diversity statistics that reveal the benefits of having a woman in a leadership position. WTC gathered and evaluated data across 10 secondary data sets to come up with these uplifting women leaders in tech statistics.

The Future of Women in Tech

28. Increasing the number of women in science, engineering, and technology by 25% would add 220,000 people to the workforce.

(Women Tech Council)

Regardless of the way tech companies feels about feminism, increasing the number of women employees is in their interest. Woman engineer statistics indicate that in order to compete in the global economy, tech companies must work toward bridging the gender gap. If the goal is to capitalize on talent and drive innovation, these cultural issues must be addressed.


29. Of all information and communications technology patents, 88% have been registered by all-male teams.

(Entropy)
Women in information technology statistics show that women are falling behind. The ICT sector has been growing at a quick pace for the last 20 years. This technological sector is highly dynamic and shows tremendous potential for innovation.


30. Women working in the same industry as men are paid from 18% to 22% less.

(Entropy)

The gender-based pay gap is an important discouraging factor for women tech workers. The dark side of women in tech companies statistics shows us the long-term consequences of the challenges women in technology careers suffer at different stages of life. Since career gaps are such a huge issue among women workers, statistics for unemployment for older women in tech industry should be improved upon.


31. In 2018, 18% of computer science graduates were women.

(Entropy)

What percent of computer science majors are female? In 1991, the number of female computer science graduates amounted to 37%. In 2016, the number went down to 26%. The downward trend reveals another bump on the road for women in the tech job market and academia.

Women in Leadership Positions

32. Within the 28 countries that compose the European Union, only 28% of scientific and administrative board members are women.

(Entropy)

Gender diversity remains a large problem both in public and private industries. The women in science statistics are especially grim when you take a look at the European civil sector: Fewer than a third of board members are women. Studies have shown sectors that depend on creativity are the ones that would benefit the most from better gender representation. In other words, tech industry demographics show that gender-diverse workplaces contribute to higher productivity and profits.


33. The average percentage of women directors in the Silicon Valley 150 increased 3.0 percentage points to 17.7% in 2018.

(Fenwick & West)

The representation of women on boards continued to increase in the United States between the 2016 proxy season and 2018, but at lower rates than in some countries. The year 2018 — dubbed by some “the year of the woman” — moved the needle in some areas of gender diversity, according to Silicon Valley diversity statistics.


Computer Weekly has announced the 2019 list of famous women in technology, the most influential innovators in the field.

  • Debbie Forster, CEO, Tech Talent Charter

Forster, who currently holds #1 on CW’s list of top women in tech, is CEO of an initiative called Tech Talent Charter. Her organization is dedicated to increasing diversity in workplaces around the globe.

  • Anne-Marie Imafidon, CEO, Stemettes

Imafidon is one of the most successful women of color today. Her company, Stemettes, was founded in 2013. It aims to encourage young women interested in STEM subjects and careers.

  • Alice Bentinck, co-founder, Entrepreneur First

In 2011, Bentnick co-founded Enterpreneur First, a company that aims to help and encourage emerging start-ups around Asia and Europe. She is also a co-founder of Code First:Girls, a non-profit company that offers free web programming courses to women in college.

  • Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder, CognitionX

A co-founder of Rightster (now Brave Bison), Goldstaub is also one of the founders of CognitionX, a start-up that helps companies learn and use AI.

  • Jo Twist, CEO, UKIE

They said girls can’t be gamers, but editor and content creator Jo Twist disagrees. Twist is now CEO of UKIE, one of the UK’s largest game distributors.

Final Words

In spite of all the focus on gender equality in the media, the truth is that women are still largely marginalized when it comes to tech. Recent studies show that every year, fewer women enroll in STEM university programs. Every year there are fewer women engineers. Many factors contribute to these trends. Only firm policies can ensure encouragement for women to join science, technology, engineering, and mathematics studies and careers – and turn this women in tech statistics around.

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