Singapore companies hiring more women tech professionals: Survey

SINGAPORE - The number of women in Singapore working in technology - a profession still seen as dominated by men - is booming, specialist recruitment firm Robert Half said on Thusrday.

Releasing the results of a survey it conducted, the firm 49 per cent of companies here have recruited more women into technology roles during the last five years.

The survey was conducted among 901 chief technology officers and chief information officers (CTOs/CIOs) in eight countries. There were 100 respondents from Singapore, of which 27 were women.

The biggest increase in female technology professionals occurred in mid-sized companies with between 150 and 499 employees, with 62 per cent of companies increasing the number of women in technology roles.

The survey did not say cover how big these increases were or whether they kep pace with the hiring of male counterparts.

In small companies - those with between 50 and 150 employees - 44 per cent have employed more women in technology roles. In large firms with 500 or more employees, 40 per cent reported an increase in female technology professionals within their ranks.

Of the eight countries surveyed, the biggest gains for women in technology is in Australia where 65 per cent of companies have employed more women in technology roles, followed by the United Kingdom (52 per cent).

The country where women technology professionals are struggling to make their presence felt is Japan, said Robert Half. While 31 per cent of companies say they have employed more female technology professionals, 32 per cent of companies reported a decrease.

Ms Stella Tang, managing director of Robert Half Singapore said there has been a noticeable increase in both the quantity and quality of women looking to fill senior technology roles.

"The glass ceiling is definitely cracking for women in technology leadership roles," she said. "The rise of women in technology leadership roles represents an increase in the number of women choosing to make technology their career."

"From our experience, Singapore companies are happy to employ the best person for the job regardless of gender, so the more female candidates there are, the greater the chance of women getting chosen for senior positions," she added.

The survey found that CIOs and CTOs in Singapore believe the key to getting more women in technology leadership positions lies in the education system.

When asked what initiatives would be the most effective in increasing female representation in the sector, 38 per cent of CTOs and CIOs pointed to the need to increase the number of women enrolled in technology education courses.

After education, mentoring is seen as the next best way to develop women technology leaders, nominated by 26 per cent of respondents.

Government initiatives were also seen as important, an approach nominated by 22 per cent of CTOs/CIOs.

But the showcasing of successful women IT leaders (8 per cent) and participation in women industry groups (6 per cent) were not seen as being particular effective strategies for encouraging more women into IT leadership roles.