Table of Contents
- Representation in Tech and Finance Industries
- Overcoming Gender Obstacles
- Types of Industries
- Job Outlook in the Tech and Finance Sectors
- Professional Organizations and Associations
- Funding and Grants
- Additional Resources
The technology and financial sectors are some of the hardest industries for women to advance in. A McKinsey study revealed it’s more difficult for women to get promoted to C-suite and senior positions than it is for men, with 52% of women in entry-level positions in the tech/finance sectors reporting difficulties advancing into higher-level positions. In tech, women may also have a harder time than men obtaining entry-level positions. Many of the obstacles facing women in these careers are social and cultural — with feelings of devaluation and exclusion high on the list of reasons why women are leaving STEM fields.
Feeling valued as an employee is one of the top indicators of both job performance and retention. Therefore, when women feel devalued in STEM, it is truly a huge obstacle that’s not just affecting women, but the tech and finance fields as a whole. Employee retention is incredibly important, particularly in fields that require specialized knowledge like tech and IT. Retaining employees of all genders allows your business to grow and advance without constantly having to spend time teaching new employees the basics.
There are many resources available to help women looking to pursue careers in tech and finance. In this guide, you’ll find information and resources for women who are aspiring to enter the technology and finance fields, as well as for those currently within these fields.
Representation of Women in Tech and Finance
Currently, women hold only 26.7% of technology jobs, from entry to C-suite level. Some 56% of these women are women of color. In contrast, women hold 46% of financial sector jobs — but only 15% of them occupy executive positions. Women in both fields are still paid less than their male counterparts.
The state of women’s representation in the tech and finance sectors is both good and bad news. The good news is that the gaps in both representation and pay are narrowing in certain places. The bad news is that they still exist, and it is generally the onus of women in the field to continue to fight for equality.
Overcoming Gender Obstacles in Tech and Finance Workplace
The specific gender obstacles that you may face as a woman in the tech and finance fields will be dependent on where you live, as well as your specific workplace. However, you may encounter some of the following:
- Biases and stereotypes: One of the biggest obstacles that women face, especially in male-dominated areas, is stereotypes and biases — particularly. unconscious ones. This includes the waning belief that women aren’t as good in leadership positions, which could still prevent them from accessing C-suite and senior-level roles. While this belief is changing, negative biases and stereotypes persist.
- Reduced access to capital: The gender gap extends past wages and into funding and capital. It’s been shown that women entrepreneurs can struggle more than their male counterparts to secure funding. This may prevent women from succeeding in areas of tech and finance that men can more easily permeate.
- Reduced access to mentorship: Similar to wage and funding gaps, women in tech and finance may be passed over for mentorship opportunities because of biases. Both being mentored and offering mentorship can be more difficult for women due to gender gaps.
If you believe that you are being treated unfairly based on your sex, you can file a charge of discrimination, as all U.S. employees, regardless of race, sex, gender identity, disability, and age are protected under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act in the workplace.
Type of Industries Within Tech and Finance
The tech sector is one of the widest, most varied industries that you can work in, and overlaps with many others, including finance. This means there is a wide range of opportunities for women entering this field.
Cybersecurity, AI, B2B tech solutions, as well as app and web development, are just a few specialties under the computer science umbrella. If you’re interested in the design and designation of tech solutions, arrays, and systems, you might consider entering the computer science industry. Popular careers in this industry include:
- Software developer: Software developers are in charge of designing and implementing software for their company. They also help troubleshoot any software issues.
- Web developer: Web developers are in charge of designing websites and troubleshooting website functions. They may also design brand items that go on websites.
- UX designer: User experience designers are in charge of developing the user experience of a product, software, or website. Their chief worry is functionality for the consumer.
- Mobile app developer: Mobile app developers are in charge of creating and troubleshooting mobile apps and their functions. Mobile app developers may also contribute brand design items.
- IT project manager: IT project managers are in charge of overseeing information technology projects for a team or company. They will take an executive view of the project, and help ensure that the success metrics are met.
These jobs range from entry-level to senior-level. For all of these positions, you’ll typically need a computer science degree or a related degree. According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for jobs with a computer science degree is $78,214 a year.
Adtech is an industry in IT that uses tools and software to assist brands in focusing, sharing, and measuring their digital ad campaigns. Popular careers in this industry include:
- Product representative: Product representatives are in charge of explaining the product to investors or a board, as well as helping sell and troubleshoot the product.
- Data analyst: Data analysts collect and analyze business data to provide insights. This could include consumer engagement, retention, and other important metrics.
- Director of business development: Directors of business development are in charge of developing future product and service plans for a business, as well as analyzing current and past trends and forecasting for the overall industry.
These jobs range from entry-level to senior-level, with salaries ranging from $61,500 to $150,000 annually.
Fintech is an industry that deals with payment solutions, mobile applications, and other end-to-end technologies created to improve and automate traditional forms of finance for businesses and consumers. Common careers in this industry include:
- Business engineer: Business engineers develop, implement, and maintain databases, systems, and frameworks for a company, to support business success.
- Software engineer: Software engineers create software and solve problems with existing software. They are the first point of contact for troubleshooting and new systems.
- Finance manager: Finance managers manage the finances of a company. This includes any software used to process financials, invoicing, and annual budgeting.
- Implementation and customer success managers: Implementation and customer success managers serve as a liaison between Fintech companies and corporate finance and accounting teams to ensure successful implementation and customer retention.
These jobs range from entry-level to senior-level, with salaries ranging between $75,000 to $140,000 per year. Your earning power can depend on your location, your education level, and other factors specific to you.
Job Outlook in the Tech and Finance Sectors
The tech industry is famous for being fast-paced and rapidly evolving. Society has a vested interest in tech, as it is integrated into crucial parts of everyday life. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the job outlook for computer and information technology occupations is expected to grow 15% from 2021 to 2031, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This means job opportunities for women who are interested in or currently working in tech are projected to increase over the next 10 years.
The BLS expects the finance sector to grow 7% over the next 10 years, which is about average growth. While this isn’t as high of a growth rate as tech is expected to see, it still comes out to about 980,200 job openings each year, making it a lucrative industry for women looking to pursue a career in finance.
Professional Organizations and Associations
Professional organizations and associations are a great way to connect with other women in your field, build community, and seek support. Some of the top professional organizations and associations for women in tech and finance include:
- National Center for Women & Information Technology: The NCWIT is one of the farthest-reaching organizations for women in the tech field. They offer events, education resources, and leadership opportunities for women in tech. They have several branches and help support and develop women’s careers in tech fields.
- Attract Retain Advance: ARA offers mentorship and development opportunities for women in tech. They are specifically focused on getting women in tech into senior and C-suite positions, which is a unique challenge for women in tech.
- Girl Develop It: Girl Develop It is a nonprofit designed to help women and non-binary individuals learn software development. They offer workshops and events for members, with a pay-as-you-go or monthly membership model for $45 to $55 a month.
- Women in Fintech: This organization is designed to empower and help further the careers of women specifically in fintech. They offer networking and events to members, as well as industry news and educational resources.
- Women Who Tech: This organization is designed to connect women entrepreneurs in tech with investors and allies. Funding can be a huge obstacle to women-led startups, which historically have faced barriers when it comes to securing investors. This organization offers both financial and social support for members.
- Financial Women’s Association: The FWA has been connecting a dynamic community of vibrant women professionals with development-focused, proactive institutions since 1956. Their goal is to advance leadership growth and accelerate the success of all women in finance.
You can find other organizations online, at your university or alma mater, or even in your local community. These organizations are a great place to feel supported and learn more about the fields, regardless of where you are in your career.
The following organizations cater to specific demographics in tech and finance, such as women of color. These demographics may face unique challenges in the workplace, and therefore may need different support:
- blackcomputeHER: This organization is focused on providing support for Black women and girls in computing and tech. It has educational and professional resources, as well as events and conferences for members.
- Latinas in Tech: This is a network of Latina women working in the tech sector. They offer networking and educational programs to members, designed to help advance their careers in tech.
- Natives in Tech: This organization is designed to support Native Americans in the tech field by providing them with educational opportunities as well as community support. They also hold events and conferences for their members.
- Women Veterans in STEM: This organization is designed to help support women veterans in the tech field. Many skills that veterans learn in their service are translatable to the tech field. This organization helps support the development of those skills, and job placement, as well as providing community support.
- MotherCoders: This organization is designed to support mothers who are currently in or interested in joining the tech industry. They offer educational resources specifically designed for working mothers and for kids.
- Women In Tech APAC: This organization is focused on providing support for Asian and Pacific Islander women in tech. They offer a monthly newsletter with industry updates, as well as events and community support for Asian and Pacific Islander women.
These organizations are focused on the communities they serve as well as the specific and unique challenges that face them.
Funding and Grants
There are specific funding and grant programs that women in tech and finance can seek out to support their careers. These include but are not limited to:
- Grants Program | Women Who Tech: This grant is designed to address the funding gap that many women-owned startups face. To qualify for this grant, you’ll need to follow the theme assigned for the grant cycle and adhere to all the rules and criteria for applicants. Payouts for this grant can be up to $15,000.
- RTC Women in Tech Fund | Rewriting the Code: RTC offers several grants. They are aimed at women completing their undergraduate degrees who are experiencing financial obstacles to finishing their degrees. While similar to a scholarship, some of these grants can be applied to expenses that are vital, but not directly school-related, which makes it a great option for non-traditional students.
If you are in school and looking to pursue a degree in STEM, including technology and finance, there are many scholarships available to help pay for school expenses.
The following are additional resources that women in tech and finance may find useful during their education or careers. These include education, mentorship, and networking opportunities. These resources can help women advance their careers and face challenges in the workplace and industry as a whole.
Education, Training, and Mentorship
Continuing education is an important part of advancing in your career, particularly in rapidly evolving industries such as technology and finance. Your employer may offer reimbursement for continuing education costs, or you may have access to lessons through an organization membership. Other educational opportunities include:
- AllWomen.tech: This is an educational community that provides upskilling opportunities that are crucial for women in tech to advance their careers. They offer part-time courses and professional development.
- Women in Tech Academy: This is the educational arm of WIT, offering both free and premium courses on in-demand skills in the tech industry. The free courses are available to anyone, regardless of WIT membership.
- Women in Tech Mentoring Program: This is WIT’s mentoring program. It offers both opportunities to mentor and to be connected with mentors. This is a premium program and costs vary depending on whether you’re looking to be a mentee or a mentor.
- 100 Women in Finance: With a mission to strengthen the global finance industry by empowering women, this organization promotes diversity, raises visibility, and aims to connect women at every career stage.
- Girls Who Invest: This organization offers educational programs for women who are interested in becoming investors. You can view their website to see their course schedule, as well as their program offerings. They offer both self-guided and professionally guided programs.
- How Women are Setting the Pace in Finance: This webinar features a panel of successful women in finance executive positions. Join them as they talk about how to find a career path you love, provide networking tips, and offer ways to build confidence no matter where you’re at in your career.
Many of these programs may offer certificates of completion that you can leverage on a resume or application, which can set you apart from other applicants.
Networking and Community
Networking is one of the best ways to make connections, learn about new opportunities, and receive professional support. Networking and community opportunities can help advance your career in the tech and finance fields, as well as combat any feelings of isolation you might feel as a woman in a male-dominated industry. Some networking opportunities for women in tech and finance include:
- The WIT Network: The Women in Tech (WIT) network connects women in tech with each other. By becoming a member, you’ll have access to thousands of other members and national chapters, events, and resources.
- The Women In Tech Summit: The Women in Tech Summit (WITS) is a national conference with several events across the country and digitally. This conference is a great time to connect to other women in tech, learn about the latest industry developments, and even get a chance to be a speaker.
- Women in Finance Online Festival: This online event is designed to provide insight for women in finance, networking opportunities, and workshops for career development.+
- Generation Finance: Generation Finance is an online community resource for finance and accounting leaders of today and tomorrow. Each event aims to connect like-minded peers, potential mentors, and mentees, as well as to promote positive change in professional careers.
- Financial Women of San Francisco: With members who work as CEOs, CFOs, corporate treasurers, CPAs, and attorneys, this group is focused on advancing the success of women in finance, specifically from the Bay Area.
While being a woman in any male-dominated industry may be difficult at times, these resources can help you not only face but overcome these challenges.
As president and co-founder of Vested, Binna Kim, said in an interview with Forbes: “Be unapologetic in fighting for what you deserve. You can have a family and grow your career — don’t feel that you have to choose one or the other.”
So don’t hesitate to pursue your goals and work for the career you want, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Relying on other women in these fields and being able to seize opportunities can help you advance your tech and finance career.