working women

Why Women Leave Tech

I read a great article last week about why women leave technology jobs.

What made the article great — and stand out among a crowded field of articles about women in tech — is that it was based on an actual survey of women who left technology jobs.  I don’t know how scientific or representative the author’s collection of stories was, but over the course of a month she collected and analyzed 716 stories of women leaving tech.  Here’s what she found:

  • “Almost everyone” had liked their actual jobs
  • 65% (465) are not working today and 35% (251) are employed, but not in technology jobs
  • 87% (625) say they have no plans to return to technology jobs compared to 3% (22) who say they definitely would like to
  • 67% (484) cited motherhood as “a factor” for leaving their jobs but only 5% (42) had actually wanted and planned to be stay-at-home mothers.  For the others, it was the “final push” among others that made them leave.  For example, 12% (85) cited their company’s maternity leave (or lack of it) as a”major factor” in leaving their jobs
  • Approximately 26% (192 women) cited overt or unintentional discriminatory/hostile work environments, including many describing the simple inability to “fit in” to a homogeneous culture or environment that was predominantly male, white and “different”

In conclusion, the author of the article says that STEM education initiatives aren’t enough — though they are certainly more straightforward to implement than across-the-board corporate culture changes — to improve the numbers of women in technology.  Watch this space, as I’m looking forward to reporting back when Fairygodboss has collected enough crowd-sourced commentary from women in different industries to provide a similar type of analysis regarding why women stay, leave or may think of making career changes.

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