Ensono released the results of its third annual Speak Up survey, uncovering biases related to women in technology. This year, Ensono surveyed 1,500 women across the United States, United Kingdom and India to better understand the experiences of women working in the tech industry, examining topics such as learning and career development, workplace harassment and gender equality.

The world is much different than it was when Ensono first started auditing in-person conferences for speaker gender parity in 2019, during the first iteration of Speak Up. This year, the company shifted its focus to what has changed for women pursuing technology careers in this new age of work, compounded with an ongoing reckoning in the industry around workplace inequity, hybrid work policies, DEI efforts, and the continued demand for tech talent. 

While organizations have made progress — 96% of respondents said they consider their company to be an inclusive workplace, several issues remain: 

  • Nearly half (44%) of the women surveyed say they’ve seen an increase in workplace sexual harassment during the last 5 years.
  • One in five women (22%) from the U.S. and India report experiencing verbal abuse, with the U.K. following closely at 21%. In the U.K., women report more subtle forms of discrimination, such as microaggressions (23%) or being dismissed in group settings (25%).
  • 91% of Latinx women and 72% of Black women say they’ve experienced discouragement or setbacks in their careers, compared to only 64% of white women.

“For our Speak Up initiative this year, we chose to focus on what is changing for women pursuing tech careers, and the unique needs and experiences of women across the globe,” said Meredith Graham, chief people officer at Ensono. “It’s clear there is still a lot of work to be done to promote and enact real change for women in the workplace, especially in technology, which is a predominantly male industry. It’s important that company leaders not only listen to women about their experiences but create a culture of communication and advocacy to help reduce the barriers women face every day.” 

Additional key findings include: 

  • Women are discouraged from pursuing STEAM careers: 67% said they have experienced discouragement or setbacks while pursuing a career in technology. These setbacks range from discouragement in pursuing a STEAM career in high school or earlier (45%), feeling as if the career path was male-dominated (44%) and being told the career path was too challenging for women (36%).
  • Learning and development is in demand: 60% of women said they have heard from employers that a lack of skills holds them back, but in the U.S and U.K., only a third of women said their company offers training programs or academies. With 20% of women saying they will seek a new job within the next year, the demand for learning and training initiatives showcases an opportunity for employers to invest in the career development of female tech workers. 
  • Remote work remains positive: 85% of women in tech feel they have more job opportunities due to remote/hybrid work, and 82% of women in tech report that remote/hybrid work has made them happier. It’s clear that the flexibility of remote work has positively impacted women and their careers, especially regionally. 

Tech experiences vary around the globe: In India, female workers continue to feel discouraged when pursuing tech roles — a quarter of female tech workers in India said they believe their company interviews women only for optics, and women in India are mostly likely to be asked questions about their family life, higher than in the U.S. or U.K. Meanwhile, in the U.K., more than a quarter of women said men and women are not treated equally in the workplace and nearly a third of women believe their companies pay men and women unequally — higher than U.S. respondents. The differing experiences of women across regions are an important distinction for global technology organizations. 

Source: Ensono