The Recruitment, Retention & Advancement of Senior Technical Women

On October 1, 2009, 59 senior technology executives participated in the Anita Borg Institute’s 2009 Technical Executive Forum.

Even though an acknowledgement was made that the pipeline of technical women with technical degrees coming out of academia was insufficient, the group commented that the women who do graduate from these programs are not joining organizational cultures that are as receptive as they could be to gender diversity. This cultural disconnect was highlighted through the discussion of five main components.

1. The existing technical culture is biased against “those who don’t code”

2. The existing technical culture rewards “Hero” behavior and an “in your face” communication style

3. Risk-aversion is embedded in recruiting and advancement practices

4. The individual contributor track lacks a development culture

5. The existing reward structures built around the high-tech culture do not encourage rapid change around this issue