Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, a looming economic recession, and a surge in the Black Lives Matter movement, it has become increasingly critical to elevate equity and equality in business.
The program Top Companies for Women Technologists was first launched in 2011 to help organizations identify areas for improvement in diversity and equity for women.
This year, Top Companies has collected data on race and ethnicity nonbinary gender representation and examined the different ways in which companies have responded to COVID-19 — in particular, implementing measures to keep employees safe.
About AnitaB.org and Top Companies
AnitaB.org is focused on sustaining an equitable future for women technologists by cultivating a global community that includes next-generation talent, innovators, and academics. Their goal is to make the technology industry more inclusive, informed, and diverse by connecting and inspiring women in computing and technology innovation.
The organization was founded in 1987 by computer scientist Anita Borg. Today, AnitaB.org is present in more than 80 countries and partners with Fortune 500 companies worldwide.
Top Companies for Women Technologists is a national program from AnitaB.org. The benchmarking scheme identifies key trends around the equity of women in the workforce. Their report includes findings from data collected from participating companies for the period of March 31, 2019, through March 31, 2020. The data covers more than half a million US technologists from 51 companies.
The research determined that the overall representation of women technologists was 28.8%. This number showed some variation by carrier level. For example, for intern and entry levels, it was between 36% and 38%, for 28.3% for mid levels, 23.6% for senior, 24.1% for executive, and only 3.9% for CEO. However, there was growth in representation at all career levels compared to previous years; in entry and executive levels in particular.
Of a total of 501,384 technologists, 133,068 were women, and 65,175 were women of color. The overall representation for women grew 2.9 percentage points since 2018, at a faster pace (4.96% from 2019 to 2020 compared to 0.6% from 2018 to 2019). Although promising, this means that it would take 12 years to achieve equal representation at a consistent growth.
Although the overall representation grew, women technologists are disproportionately hired at entry levels compared to higher levels. Over the last three years, more women were promoted than men (mostly to mid-level positions, while men were promoted to senior-level opportunities). Both women and men left organizations at the same rate, an improvement over last year when women left 1.3 times more often.
Only 3.8% of companies had a woman as their current CEO, 14% had had one in the past, and 8.5% had at least half women founders. Technical men were more represented than women in practically all races and ethnicities.
Programs and Policies
Companies with formal leadership development programs showed a higher representation of Black and Latinx tech women, while those offering diversity and inclusion training had a higher representation of BLNP tech women.
For the year 2020, 76.5% of companies gave 12+ weeks of caregiver leave to mothers (only 31.4% did so to mothers and partners), 70.6% of companies had a pay equity policy, and 74.5% offered flextime. Those that did provide flextime had higher promotion rates for women and more representation of women overall.
In terms of diversity training, 92.2% offered D&I training, and 56.9% had sponsorship programs. Sponsorship schemes matched a higher representation of Black and Latinx women.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 84% of companies conducted internal surveys to understand the needs of their employees, and 77% offered flexible hours and resources for parents educating children. 44% offered mental health services, 29% paid health leave, and 23/25% flexible days and hours.
Amongst cost-cutting measures, 34% postponed starting dates, 12% reduced exec wages, and 18% canceled some internships and froze hiring. Less common measures included reducing non-exec wages (2%), rescinding job offers (6%), and furloughing employees (2%).
Companies had to adapt to a never-seen-before global scenario in 2020 quickly. The Top Companies for Women Technologies report showed that women’s representation is growing. However, time alone won’t bring change.
AnitaB.org calls on companies to implement three main measures and offers three programs to do so. First, build structural equity through the Inclusion Diversity Equity Advance (IDEA) program to assess, align, and embed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the employee lifecycle. Second, build new pathways and recruit from nontraditional sources such as TalentSprint, an upskilling and candidate matching platform focusing on BLNP people. And lastly, build together by sharing ideas, practices, and solutions through AnitaB.org’s Partnership and Membership programs.
This year, AnitaB.org’s annual Grace Hopper Celebration crowned The New York Times Company, Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG), and ADP as 2020’s Top Companies for Women Technologists. These companies have demonstrated that they’re investing in talent at all levels and re-writing the industry’s definition of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Hopefully, many more will follow their example in the years to come.
About the Author
Yisela Alvarez Trentini is an Anthropologist + User Experience / Human-Computer Interaction Designer with an interest in emerging technologies, social robotics, and VR/AR.