5 Pieces of Career Advice for Women Tech Entrepreneurs
September 10, 2015
Why are women scarce in the technology industry?
As a professional female in the technology field, it is hard for me to debate the sobering reality that females currently only make up around 23 percent of the IT industry workforce in Australia. The statistics are not any better when it comes to starting up tech companies. Only 10 percent of new high-growth tech firms are founded by women.
This reality became even more surprising when I realised women are a large portion of the tech-consumer market. Obviously, a workforce that represents all the demographics that consume the products created by these firms seems logical. After all, having a diverse range of ideas would only help these IT companies better connect with their consumers.
It makes no sense to under represent a demographic that currently has an estimated spending power of $5 trillion to $15 trillion in the U.S., especially when that number continues to grow rapidly. According to Fleishman-Hillard Inc, women will control up to two-thirds of American consumer wealth within the next 10 years. In Australia, women already control 72 percent of the household budget.
Fortunately, the divide between the sexes in the technology industry continues to shrink, and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics backs that up. Of course the increasing number of female faces heading major tech companies like Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer also helps.
As for the bigger issue of the low number of women starting up tech companies, those numbers are also improving as defiant women defy norms, chasing their dreams, starting technology firms. These female tech entrepreneurs motivate people like myself to follow suit, closing the gender gap in the IT industry.
Here is some career advice for women in the tech industry hoping to make an impact from other women who have already enjoyed lots of success:
1. Take Advantage of Mentors and Support Networks
“Sometimes I see a younger woman being a little bit more cautious. You have to believe in yourself and back yourself. I would tell myself that I’m going to make some incredible friendships and business relationships along the way and to nurture those and treat them really well. People are to me at the heart of all we do and so we would think about that aspect of how you’re going to be working and living your life.” – Pip Marlow, Managing Director Microsoft Australia.
2. Embrace Your Creativity
“These days in business, big data often takes over and we often find that people get so tied up in data analysis that they forget about creativity… I think you need creativity if you want to get to any new worthwhile place.” – Maile Carnegie, Managing Director Google Australia.
3. Surround Yourself with Diverse Talent
“As we grow and tackle new business problems it’s really important that we hear from both women and men, the more diverse views you get, the better outcomes you get.” – Karen Stocks, Managing Director Twitter Australia.
4. Find your Voice
“Earlier on in my career, I think my voice wasn’t heard as strongly as it should have been. I learnt pretty quickly that I have to re-articulate my message in order for it to get through.” – Kate Burleigh, CEO Intel Australia.
5. Never Forget to Learn from Mistakes
“I wasn’t necessarily passionate about that business, more that I was just doing it, which is a mistake a lot of people do make. But on the other side, I learnt so much and I wouldn’t be doing ShowPo if not for that experience,’’ Jane Lu, Chief Executive Pony ShowPo.
If you have a few of your own tips for women looking for career success in the tech industry, let us know in the comments below.
Senior Tech Talent Manager
An Irish cat living the dream in Sydney I don’t know what to tell ya! Even though I’m a long way from the homeland I’ve successfully built up 5 years of local industry knowledge specialising in emerging technologies. I have a strong JAVA and Ruby on Rails following in NSW and VIC. I also have extensive experience sourcing specialist software development teams for technology companies with highly transactional, high volume, data intensive environments. Let’s catch up for a pint, but do send me a message and we’ll see what happens!
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