Cracking the Glass Ceiling

Fourteen percent of the SQL Server professionals who responded to our salary survey were women. As Table A shows, the women who responded reported a high level of job satisfaction, but a larger percentage of female respondents than male respondents reported feeling dissatisfied. However, women still recommend IT careers to newcomers—and especially to women.

As Figure 3 in the main article shows, when we asked whether respondents would recommend IT as a career to young people, we gave them the option of specifying whether they'd recommend the field to men or women. Most respondents—men and women—had no trouble recommending that women choose IT careers. As one network administrator put it, "Gender has no significance in the ability to perform a job as long as the candidate is competent." But some gender bias does still exist. One male respondent wrote, "It's a very rewarding career path. \[But\] it takes you away from your family at times, and might be easier for males than females." And women also admit that bias sometimes exists on the job. One female IT professional said, "I find that my environment is very favorable to males. Women have a hard time being heard."

However, women who work in IT careers generally believe they are paid well and that IT careers offer great opportunities for women. A female database analyst said, "The gender barrier is still here for females, but I would still recommend it." A female application developer emphasized that she believes pay for women in IT is equitable: "It is still challenging and exciting. I am having more fun than ever. Also, women will make salaries that are more comparable to that of men in the same field." A systems architect noted, "I think it is a good career to have, for both men and women. Women are liable to hit the glass ceiling...but it is pretty high in IT." And a systems administrator said IT is "one of the few areas that has limited gender discrimination and good job opportunities long term."

Many female IT professionals are eager to bring other women into the IT fold. One systems administrator noted that in the current job market, she sees "too many males looking for IT jobs and not enough technical females." And a systems architect called IT "interesting and challenging. As the lone female on my team, I would certainly encourage more women to enter the field."

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