While the tech industry is upbeat on upskilling and training of its employees, a new report suggests that only half (52%) of the woman respondents in the survey agree that their employers offer training as a benefit. The report by Skillsoft, a corporate digital learning platform, sheds light on the gaps in learning and development opportunities in the workplace for female tech professionals.
With 1 in 2 surveyed women in tech agreeing that advanced technical skills helped them reach their current role, the importance of upskilling and training opportunities cannot be understated. However, This comes at a time when 76% of IT decision-makers report skills gaps on their teams, according to Skillsoft’s Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report. Providing opportunities for training and professional development is a major benefit for employers and employees alike as it can help fill crucial skills shortages and put women on a path for career advancement.
In the current survey, when asked which employee benefits they value most, the second largest percentage (52%) cited opportunities for professional development/training, just behind health insurance (55%) and ahead of flexible work (49%) and maternity leave (48%). Also 42% of those surveyed cited the limited pipeline of women studying STEM in high school/college as a significant challenge in their industry, indicating the need for learning on-the-job.
When asked which tech-related areas respondents are most interested in learning more about, Data Management (34%), Leadership And Management (33%) and Project Management (32%) topped the list followed by Programming Languages (29%) Cybersecurity (28%) and Cloud Computing (28%), the study showed.
“The percentage of women in the Indian IT sector has risen over the last decade. While the trend is promising, albeit gradual, in order to maintain momentum, women must be empowered with new opportunities to take on tech roles and provided access to continuous upskilling opportunities,” said Rashim Mogha, General Manager – Leadership and Business Portfolio, Skillsoft.
“In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we look to #BreakTheBias by encouraging organizations to extend learning and development opportunities and resources to women at all levels,” said Mogha.
Per data collated by the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, as of December 2021, India’s urban female labour force declined to 7.2% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic — down from 9.5% in December 2019. According to Skillsoft’s report, two-thirds of women in tech say men outnumber them at their organization for leadership roles at ratios of 2-to-1 or greater. This ratio is even higher for those working in tech companies (72%). Women have also identified top challenges in tech roles including lack of equity in opportunities (47%) and underrepresentation of women in the tech field (46%).
Over 44% of those surveyed ranked professional development / training opportunities as one of the top five incentives that their organizations could employ to encourage more women to pursue tech-related careers.
Training opportunities are crucial levers of encouragement, second only to seeing an increase in women in tech-related leadership roles. Nearly 1 in 2 (~47%) women say that seeing more women in leadership roles would encourage others to pursue tech-related careers.
As an incentive of encouragement, professional development trumps benefits like childcare (29%) and work-life benefits (41%). Over one-third women (35%) look for tech-related job fairs or networking opportunities from their organization.