Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and LinkedIn are among the top tier technology firms now announcing their Workforce Diversity reports, showing the overall percentage of women in the workforce, their shares in tech and non-tech fields, and in leadership. The data does not cover actual wage levels, which inevitably show greater disparities. Nevertheless, the reports tell us a little bit about why wage differences persist.
Company Overall Tech Non-tech Leadership
Microsoft 29% 17.1% 44.5% 17.3%
Google 30% 17% 48% 21%
Facebook 31% 15% 47% 23%
Yahoo 37% 15% 47% 23%
LinkedIn 39% 17% 47% 25%
If you read each report, you’ll see that each company’s HR leadership touts the many “programs” they sponsor to entice girls and women to become interested in their employment opportunities. Clearly, those are having a marginal effect at best. Almost half of all women employed by these highly technical firms are employed in the soft-support sectors rather than in the top dollar/high salary/high-tech positions. The highest overall employment share goes to LinkedIn which may be explained by its much higher percentage of women workers involved in non-technical areas: social media, marketing, finance, and human resources, for example.
The more sophisticated a technology firm, say Microsoft, the lower percentage of women overall and in technology fields within the company. Microsoft has the lowest percentage of women in leadership positions of all of these companies.
Microsoft has 3 women directors out of a board of 12 people: Dina Dublon, Teri List-Stoli, and Dr. Maria Klawe. Microsoft has only 3 women among their top tier leadership ranks: Peggy Johnson, head of business development; Amy Hood, CFO; and Lisa Brummel, head of Human Resources. Brummel had to release the mea culpa memos to the employees after Nadella’s interview with Klawe at the Grace Hopper event.
In January 2013, I wrote about several options women have for improving their financial competitiveness in the marketplace. See: http://championboards.blogspot.com/2013/01/through-glass-door.html.
It’s the same thing, again and again, for women pursuing angel or venture capital, or board positions, or scholarships. If women don’t ASK for the opportunities, the opportunities will not miraculously appear --- by “karma.”
Learn how to negotiate. Learn how to present yourself and your competencies. Learn how to compete in the modern economic marketplace. This is something women CAN do.