As Co-Chair of the Workforce Development Committee (WFD) of Women in Technology (WIT) for the past 6 months, I have had the pleasure of being introduced to several local companies as part of WIT’s Meet the Company series. For each of these events, WIT partners with one organization in their facility to showcase, the business, technology and culture. The hosting organization invites executives to speak to attendees and provides opportunities for attendees to get the know the company, the recruiters and executives. WFD meets with company representatives before and after the event for planning, setting expectations and lessons learned. One of the recurring themes of these interactions is women in technology – where are they and how do companies hire them?
According to Women Who Tech, “women account for 32.3% of the IT workforce in Washington DC.” Women in Technology, a non-profit with almost 1000 members and a mission to advance women in technology from the classroom to the boardroom, identifies 22% of members as current holders of technical roles. I know there are many members who previously held technical roles, but have since moved into more managerial or strategic positions.
So what makes it so hard to deliver women in technology to these companies, at these events? I don’t think it is the event itself, as the companies are clearly interested in attracting women in IT, and are trying multiple methods, of which the WIT event is only one. So, what is it about women in tech that makes them so scarce? Is it that most of these events are in the morning before the workday or in the evening after work, times women are usually with their families? Is it that women in tech are secure in existing jobs and therefore are not networking as much as they should?