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Survey highlights gender bias in tech

Sarah Putt, Contributor. 23 May 2019, 9:12 am

Women continue to be under-represented in the New Zealand tech sector, according to a survey released today by MYOB. Only a quarter of local tech businesses have equal representation of women in leadership and 46% of women in the sector have experienced gender bias.

MYOB surveyed 1,000 small business owners across New Zealand, which included responses from more than 380 female business leaders and 220 technology businesses.

The company says its findings are supported by data from recent research such as the Stats NZ Quarterly Employment Survey (Q1 2019). This survey shows that "female employees in the information, media and telecommunications industry earn, on average, $7.88 less per hour than male employees from the same industry. Those in the professional, scientific and technical fields also earn less than their male counterparts - around $6.28 less every hour worked."

The gender pay gap is also highlighted in the MYOB survey which shows that only 48% of all tech companies provide equal pay for men and women in same role.

MYOB country manager Ingrid Cronin-Knight says the research "was concerning for the local tech sector - given it's one of the country's fastest growing industries with a reach that will increasingly transform the entire economy."

In a report accompanying the release, a series of graphs (see below) show the barriers to achieving gender diversity include the "reputation of gender bias within industry" and "lack of female role models in the industry".

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 8.54.19 AM.png

Cronin-Knight says educating young people and ensuring more women and girls are exposed to the benefits of working in the tech sector will help improve gender diversity.

"This lack of representation starts from early in their careers. Young women are less likely to study ICT, computer science and other STEM-related fields at university," said Ms Cronin-Knight.

MYOB reference data from NZTech, which shows that 36% of computer science and information technology students were female in 2016. Data from the Ministry of Education also highlights that 82% of engineering students were male in 2015.

"Where we go from here - and how we choose to educate young girls - will have a significant impact on the future workforce, and the future of communities and people across the country, Cronin-Knight says.

You can read the full report here.


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Tony Lyne 24 May 2019, 4:42 pm

This is an interesting topic. I'm working in a mentoring scheme at the moment with a number of senior high school students who are wanting to pursue tech careers, and there seems to be a general lack of interest in tech from the girls, even when we try and encourage them to look into it more.

Keen to get some ideas on how we can promote girls and tech further. Microsoft do have some excellent programs as well and are doing a great job.

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