The tech industry has been burning through talent and losing IP for decades, but this is usually after years or even decades of contributions. Some suggest it is based on work-life balance challenges, but a recent ISACA study, Tech Workforce 2020: The Age and Gender Perception Gap, highlights how millennials factor into this equation, too. Consider:
Given the often demanding workloads and tight deadlines in the tech workplace, new talent may not be as interested in accepting the tech workplace culture as it sits today:
- 64 percent of respondents report experiencing burnout or stress in their current roles. Heavy workloads (61 percent), tight deadlines (50 percent), long hours (48 percent) and lack of resources (40 percent) are the top causes.
- Those 30 years old and above are more willing to endure career stress and burnout conditions than those below 30.
This research comes at an interesting time, as companies are verbalizing their commitments to attracting diverse talent and advance more women within organizations. With new programs, recruiting efforts and mentorship programs, the unpinning of the tech culture is lurking in every corner.
Layering diversity programs on top of unhealthy cultures is like adding good code to bad code. Eventually, the bad code will impact the good code leaving users frustrated and disengaged.
With mass exits of women in tech around the age of 35 and millennials considering alternative job paths before the age of 30, the next generation talent pool will be in high demand.
How will your culture rank, especially for women, as they already make up 46.6% of the overall labor force and make up the majority of the college-educated labor force?
Based on the data collected in Tech Workforce 2020: The Age and Gender Perception Gap, there are several notable gender trends that must be addressed:
- Many women feel they must work harder than their colleagues to demonstrate their skills (according to 49 percent of women compared to 44 percent of men).
- Women feel underpaid relative to coworkers (22 percent of women say their organization has unequal pay for the same job, compared to 14 percent of men)
- Women are not receiving sufficient resources to sustain their careers (66 percent say they have the resources they need, compared to 72 percent of men)
- Women are facing unequal growth opportunities (30 percent of women say they have unequal growth opportunities, compared to 23 percent of men)
What is for certain is the current culture of tech is not sustainable. As the ISACA research highlights, there is no shortage of potential starting points to invite and retain diverse talent.
A few tips to get started:
- Share the data with your executive team and board
- Identify ways to interview a cross-section of talent in your organization to gain specific insights and action-based activities (hiring a diversity or culture expert could be beneficial)
- Prioritize activities and gain buy-in from strategic leaders
- Engage people throughout the organization to be part of the shift
- Remember, without executive support and engagement, these activities are useless
Now is the time!
About the author: JJ DiGeronimo, the Founder of Tech Savvy Women, shares effective leadership and inclusion strategies to retain, develop and advance professional women in tech. With two books to advance professional women in the workplace, DiGeronimo has been quoted in numerous publications, including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Inc. Magazine.