Women in Top Technology Roles but Gender Diversity Lagging
The most prominent technology appointments ranked by the market capitalization of the company in 2020 so far show that the top ten roles have a male to female gender ratio of 60:40. The top ten suggests that women are making some progress in technology roles across sectors. The list features Intel’s Archana Deskus and Siemens’ Hanna Hennig as numbers 2 and 5 in that list. Another high-profile company appearing on that list is Boeing, which has been affected by the black swan that is coronavirus. In May 2020, the Aerospace company announced Susan Doniz as the company’s Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Information Technology & Data Analytics.
Top Ten Technology Roles in 2020
However, a closer examination of the total number of digital and technology appointments or promotions in 2020 across sectors reveals that only 14.5% of women occupied these roles. This is marked by the number of men who were hired or promoted in the year so far – a whopping 370.
Companies Seek Wider Business and Strategic Skills from Technology Professionals
BoardEx analysis across the top ten technology appointments also offers some insight into some of the wider strategic and business skills that companies are seeking in addition to domain expertise. Advanced degrees such as MBAs, Executive Leadership Programs and PhDs tend to be common among these current appointments. This is supported by BoardEx analysis of technology professionals e.g. executives and leaders across the FTSE 350 and S&P 500. For both indexes, a technology professional may have studied at one or many institutions. We determined the popularity of the institution by the number of qualifications per institution.
At the time of this article, the FTSE 350 has 181 technology professionals. These professionals studied at Harvard University, the London Business School, INSEAD, among others as indicated by the chart below. Other technology leaders and executives will have studied elsewhere – the numbers for those institutions are nominal.
The S&P 500 has 543 technology professionals. The chart below shows that they tend to study at Ivy League institutions such as Harvard, MIT, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Stanford and Columbia University. IT and project management associations and institutes such as the ISACA and the PMI that offer networking, learning and development opportunities with a global community of technology professionals are also popular among these individuals.
Experience and Progress of Recently Appointed or Promoted Technology Professionals
Back to the individuals in the top ten whom we profiled. Their background and experience show that they have worked across numerous sectors or have varied professional interests. A case in point is Javier Polit who started at FMCG Mondelēz International, Inc as CIO in March 2020 and holds Advisor and Council Member roles at several Private Equity portfolio companies, for example, Dell. Thirty per cent of the top ten had at some point in their career also worked for a consulting firm such as Accenture or PwC before going back or moving into industry. Others have progressed their careers within the same sector or company by gaining exposure and moving upwards to different departments. Their varied professional activities include committee roles. With this information a picture of a technology professional who has a range of complementary and what might initially seem eclectic business and external engagements and interests starts to emerge.
The progress of women in top technology roles continues to be slow despite diversity dominating the corporate agenda. Gender diversity aside, advanced degrees at top European and US academic institutions are common among the top technology appointments in 2020 so far. Their profiles also highlight wide and varied interests and experience in different functions and sectors. Kate Chetwynd-Talbot who leads the Technology Digital Practice at Executive Search firm from Ridgeway Partners tells us about some of the trends and growth in Executive Talent in Technology. Further BoardEx insights and analysis on gender diversity by sector and across major global indexes are available in our annual Global Gender Diversity Report.