The biggest deterrent for women in techApril 30, 2013: 10:22 AM ET
New survey results from job marketplace Elance.
By Kurt Wagner, reporter
FORTUNE -- A new survey by online job marketplace Elance found that men and women share similar opinions when it comes to women working in the tech industry. The results, which consisted of answers from close to 7,000 freelancers mainly in the U.S., found that both males and females agree on the top deterrents keeping women out of the tech industry, the changes that need to be made, and the overall outlook of women in tech moving forward.
Most notably, both male and females respondents reported that a lack of "female role models" in the tech community is the top deterrent for why more women aren't pursuing tech-related careers. Only 18 companies from last year's Fortune 500 list boasted female CEOs at the list's release. (Eight female CEOs ran companies in the top 100, four of which were tech companies.) Another major deterrent observed by both genders: programming and technology stereotypes.
Elance CEO Fabio Rosati says his company pursued the topic of women in tech after discovering that female freelancers' earnings were growing 20% faster on Elance than mens' earnings. "For women in tech, online work is a level playing field," he says. "It provides access to jobs purely based on merit and results and really, in some ways, neutralizes some of the gender discrimination that exists around the world." Elance posts nearly 1.2 million jobs per year, according to Rosati, over 50% of which are classified as tech postings. The site fills just over half of its postings, and has a user base that is 45% women. Of the nearly 3,000 women surveyed, 74% of them said that online sites like Elance that eliminate factors like gender, location, and an applicant's physical appearance offer more work opportunities for women. Close to 60% of women also said that working online allowed them to spend more time at home with their families.
Overall, both males and females showed optimism for the future of women in tech. Here are some of the survey's key findings:
What do you think are the top deterrents for women NOT going into technology-related careers today? (More than one response allowed)
Lack of female role models or encouragement to pursue technology-related careers:
Women: 45.1% Men: 43.3%
Programming/technology job stereotypes:
Women: 30.8% Men: 36.1%
Geek technology culture not appealing:
Women: 20.6% Men: 34.3%
What do you think it will take for women to be successful in the technology field? (More than one response allowed)
Equal pay for men and women with same skill sets:
Women: 65.5% Men: 46.8%
More inspiration from parents and teachers at a young age:
Women: 54.9% Men: 48.1%
Women: 46.7% Men: 45.4%
Dispel stereotypes that boys are better than girls in math and science:
Women: 48.9% Men: 31.0%
How optimistic are you about the future of women in technology?
Extremely Optimistic 32.0% 24.8%
Optimistic 47.9% 52.0%
Somewhat Optimistic 17.6% 17.6%
Not very optimistic 2.5% 5.6%
How has online work helped grow your career? (More than one response allowed)
I am judged more by my skills than my gender:
Women: 39.1% Men: 33.7%
I am able to stay home with my family:
Women: 59.8% Men: 53.4%