Feeling underestimated at work is the biggest challenge for women in tech. According to a Paychex survey, we learn that the feeling of being underestimated is also the reason many women decide to leave the industry for careers where they feel more valued.
The report surveyed 200 women in tech job positions across the US to assess the current state of gender bias in the tech sphere. The majority of respondents (67%) listed feeling underestimated or not taken seriously by their peers at work as the biggest challenge they face in their jobs. (Tech Republic)
Additionally, this feeling of being underestimated at work is also due to the fact that women do not have female leaders in key positions to help mentor their career direction.
Gender Inequality is a Company Problem Not a Women’s Issue
Companies are learning that having a diverse leadership team is the key to greater success; both top line and bottom. So if we are going to move these numbers, we need to work together to increase the number of women in the industry and also provide them with more opportunities to feel valued.
This change starts at the top. Right now, finding women holding executive positions to help mentor and sponsor and a significant shift in gender equality is like seeking a needle in a haystack.
90% of tech executives in the Bay Area are men, and the number is almost the same (89%) for the rest of the country. — Paychex, 2018
Women – It’s Time to Leap!
Women, if you are feeling underestimated at work it may be time for you to take a leap, even if you don’t feel ready. Historically, women wait until they know everything there is to know about a position before feeling qualified to apply. Truthfully, we may never have the answers to every eventuality.
The better bet is to feel confident that you know the majority of what is expected and then set a goal of surrounding yourself with experts in the areas you are weak. And don’t forget, we are never too old to learn something new.
Sitting in your current position until someone taps you for advancement without making the effort to put yourself front and center will likely end in you being stuck for a long time.
You are in control of your destiny but it will take a little faith and risk.
Men – We Need Your Help
It is important that you understand a woman’s tendency to wait before applying or raising their hands. This will hopefully be a great reminder to encourage you to seek out the shining stars in your organization. Encourage them to apply before they are ready, offer mentoring and even sponsorship and support them if they encounter a misstep.
Men – Are You Underestimated at Work?
Men, imagine if you went to work each day and more than half of your gender experienced the following:
- Customers refusing your advice just because of your gender.
- Seeing others of your gender repeatedly passed over for promotion.
- Receiving patronizing responses to your questions.
- Given tasks that are unrelated to your field of study just because of your gender.
How long would it be before you sought work elsewhere? According to the Paychex survey, as many as 65% of women surveyed experience this every day.
You have it in your power, men, to help change this environment. If a diverse work team leads to greater business success, isn’t it in your best interest to help?
- Is What Men Say More Important?
- Computing is Too Important to be Left to Men
- Restoring Confidence with Women in Tech
- Women in Tech: Ask Men for Advice
JJ DiGeronimo — the president of Tech Savvy Women — is a speaker, author, and thought leader for women in tech and girls and STEM. Through her work, JJ empowers professional women and consults with senior executives on strategies to retain and attract women in technology to increase thought and leadership diversity within organizations.
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