Thank you for sharing your experiences by completing the 2012 ACSW Women in ICT Survey. Expanding on the success of previous ACSW surveys, the 2012 survey sought to have more women’s voices heard with all women involved in the ICT industry invited to participate. The survey was opened to all women and students who work with ICT, not just ACS members.
Contribution to previous surveys has been invaluable and has led to new initiatives for women in the ACS and wider ICT industry. The findings of the 2008 and 2010 ACSW surveys are available below.
Your responses to the ACSW survey will play a key part in communicating the unique values and benefits women bring to the Australian ICT industry, and will highlight the issues and challenges that women face in the industry.
All women involved in the ICT industry in Australia were invited to participate, including all members of the ACS. Many organisations and professional associations supported the survey by offering participation to women working in ICT.
Current employment patterns – such as employed, contracted, full time, part time, on leave, retired or studying – determined the structure of the survey. Women may hold qualifications in ICT, or in an entirely different field which relies upon ICT for work and career development. Women could offer unlimited text comments in areas that mattered to them, these qualitative responses went on to support the statistics.
There were eight key topics:
- Demographic profile
- Influences and challenges
- Taking career breaks
- Soft skills
- Impacts on your career
- ACS membership
- Final comments
2010 results were used to:
- Contribute to, and expand upon, the body of knowledge in regards to women working in the Australian ICT sector and with IT systems and tools generally
- Identify and support the professional development needs of women working with ICT in Australia
- Provide a basis for networking and information dissemination activities for the ACS and for any other organisations or individuals that wish to work with the results
- Enable the ACSW to contribute to public policy on issues relevant to women working with ICT
- Contribute articles to professional journals, magazines and newspapers with the purpose of furthering debate
- Analyse emerging trends in areas pertinent to the working lives of women in ICT in Australia.
In 2008, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, women within the ICT sector accounted for just under 30 per cent of the total workforce.
Women's participation rates in ICT roles are around 21 per cent at the professional level and 18 per cent when electronics and communications workers are included. The rate drops to 15 per cent when all the relevant trades assistants are included. Research indicates that gender differences impact on the career success of women in the ICT sector,that career paths for women are for a variety of reasons, often interrupted, and for women, job satisfaction, career commitment and involvement varies according to career stage. However, little was known of the career life cycle nexus of Australian women employed in the ICT sector. Even less was known of the nuances of their experience.
In May and June 2008, in order to gain a better understanding of the experience of Australian women in the ICT sector, the ASCW conducted a survey of all women members of the ACS. With 678 members giving their feedback, the first ACSW survey provided a wealth of information about the workplace needs and experiences of women members of the Australian Computer Society, and also provided much needed insights into the career challenges faced by women engaged in the ICT industry.
Thematic analysis and statistics:
Two reports from our 2008 survey proved incredibly useful for understanding the feedback from ACS women members.
- The IT industry appearing to value the contribution of men more highly. With men being perceived as more reliable and knowledgeable and more technically able.
- Receiving fewer opportunities, promotions and some receiving less remuneration than male colleagues for the same work.
- Often working additional unpaid hours, struggling to achieve work-life balance and experiencing difficulties re-entering the IT industry after a period away.
- Women who faced additional challenges included new graduates and migrants trying to enter the industry, and older women.