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US data shows women in tech numbers declining

Paul Brislen, Editor. 23 August 2016, 7:10 am

Data from the US Census Bureau suggests that the IT sector still has a long way to go to encourage women to participate.

While the percentage of women in most sectors has increased since 1970, in the IT sector it peaked in the early 1990s and has fallen since then.

In 1970 only 450,000 people worked in IT in the US market - by 2014 that figure had reached 4.6 million, which accounts for 2.9% of the total workforce.

In New Zealand in 2014 we employed 26,690 people directly in the IT industry - roughly 1.3% of our working population. When you add in those who are occupied across all the workforce that number rises to 74,900 or 3.8% of the workforce. There will be some disparity with the US data as the two don't measure quite the same things in the same way.

Women do appear to be more welcome in the ICT sector in New Zealand however.

A survey conducted for Absolute IT recruitment last year suggests around 79% of the New Zealand ICT workforce identifies as male, down from 81% in 2013.

The US does invest far more into R&D activities than we do in New Zealand - roughly double with the vast bulk of that spend coming from the business sector: 1.94% of GDP versus 0.54%.


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