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Nearly a third of women in tech say lack of female leaders & role models hinders careers

October 19, 2018 | D Cody

Lack female leadership role models

New research has shown that up to a third of women working in or studying tech-related roles believe a lack of leadership from women in top positions is negatively affecting careers in tech.

Research by Booking.com shows that 31% of women, 54% of whom are women in senior roles in their company, believed a lack of women leaders was hampering women working in the tech sector.

For the research, the company surveyed almost 7,000 women working in, or studying technology, in order to get a big picture understanding of their perspective on the tech sector, and how issues around gender affected their careers.

The research shows that whilst the women do agree that the tech industry offers attractive opportunities, the prevalence of discrimination in the recruitment process creates a barrier to entering tech-related roles. Survey respondents also cited overall gender imbalance in the sector as a cause for concern.

Related reading: How Mentoring can Transform your Life

“Women are still vastly underrepresented in the tech sector. What our research now tells us is exactly where women experience the biggest barriers and where the opportunity to initiate change is," said Gillian Tans, CEO at Booking.com.

“The optimism and ambition that we see from women globally to be successful in a technology or IT field is inspiring, particularly among the younger generation, who see the potential for a career in tech to deliver against the high aspirations they hold for themselves.”

Earlier this year, we spoke to Jo Hannaford, Head of Technology at Goldman Sachs, about the lack of female role models in tech. She told us that whilst there was a “number of incredible women” working in tech, it was the “tangible presence” of women in the workplace that makes the difference.

You can read our full interview with Jo here.

How many women are working in the tech sector?

Due to a variety of factors, including pipeline factors such as lack of education of girls, and gender discrimination, the percentage of tech sector roles occupied by women is far less than their male counterparts. Today, just 15% of tech roles are held by women. In addition, only 5% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women.

Earlier this year, we asked our attendees at Women of Silicon Roundabout to guess what percentage of people working in the UK tech sector were female. Take a look at the video below to see how many of them guessed right.