Computer Futures is a long-time partner of The WICT Network, helping to bring educational programming to underrepresented people in the technology industry and the STEM field. Now, we are making the arrangement official by becoming the newest sponsor of their Women in STEM programs.
As the sponsor, Computer Futures will have the opportunity to support increased diversity in the technology industry across the nation in ways that we have previously not tapped before. We will be supporting mentorship, leadership development, and gender parity research in alignment with The WICT Network at all levels. Spreading the word about the benefits of diverse hiring and career development is no new thing to Computer Futures.
We’ve worked to narrow the diversity gap for years
Breaking The Glass, an initiative founded by Computer Futures to address and lessen gender disparity in STEM, has been partnering with The WICT Network and their many chapters since 2019 to provide women’s career development programming. Our contributions have addressed inclusion, emotional intelligence, unconscious bias, work-life balance, and workplace equality. Throughout 2020 and 2021 we continued to support The WICT Network chapters with programming, communication, and participation in Tech it Out, the organization’s initiative to create strong women leaders in technology and raise awareness of opportunities for women within the tech industry.
Computer Futures and Breaking the Glass work to help companies attract, retain, and promote more diverse hiring in positions of influence and power. Not only do we educate STEM professionals, we help companies evaluate their hiring and promotion practices to take advantage of all the benefits associated with employing people who do not necessarily all think alike.
Why aren’t more companies hiring diverse talent?
Achieving higher diversity in STEM could create $470bn to $570bn in economic growth in the USA. Computer jobs increased by 338% between 1990 and 2018. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects STEM jobs to grow by 8% by 2029, which is more than double the projected growth rate for jobs across all industries. Computer occupations account for a large percentage of the STEM workforce. Software developers rank highest in the employee count, while information security analysts receive the highest salaries in the field.
Women account for 25% of those working in computer occupations. The share of women in this fast-growing occupation cluster declined from 2000 to 2016 and has remained stable since then. 28% of the U.S. STEM workforce is made up of women. Men vastly outnumber women majoring in most STEM fields of study at the college-level. 18% of CIO or CTO roles were filled by women across all U.S. industries in 2019. 74% of men’s median earnings in STEM industries was earned by women as of 2019. 42% of women in the U.S. report to have experienced or witnessed gender discrimination in the workplace.
“Diverse populations often do not receive the same resources or mentorship as privileged communities, so those students are not as career ready when entering the workforce and have difficulty competing for jobs. This stalls and slows their career progression at several levels. More resources need to be allocated to those populations, so that they have more equal access to opportunities.
"To help with this problem, companies need to build relationships with educational institutes and organizations like The WICT Network. Once diverse talent is hired, the company must make sure that their culture allows them to be successful. Diverse talent often reports that it is difficult to rise when they are the ‘only in a room, team or office." - Elizabeth Lam, Senior Community Program Manager at Computer Futures.
Companies who are not embracing diversity in their hiring and retention are at a distinct disadvantage. 32% of job seekers would not apply to a job at a company where the workforce lacks diversity. A more diverse team is more likely to outperform a more homogenous team. Diverse employees utilize different talents, experiences, and skill sets to solve organizational problems. Companies that promote and demonstrate diversity in their cultures are considered more coveted places to work, and so have access to more candidates for their own workforces.
By partnering with The WICT Network, we will help create a more diverse and successful STEM community across the globe.
More about the programs Computer Futures’ sponsorship will be supporting:
Girls Who Code - The WICT Network has cultivated an alliance with Girls Who Code, a nationwide organization with a single mission: to close the gender gap in technology. The WICT Network supports the laudable efforts of Girls Who Code by making an annual financial contribution on behalf of all of their 10,000 members.
WICT Network’s Tech It Out – The WICT Network’s Tech It Out Initiative premiered in 2009 with the goal of creating strong women leaders in technology, while also raising awareness about the vast opportunities for women in the tech fields within our industry. Programs like Tech It Out give our stakeholders tools they need to keep pace with the latest advances in technology while connecting them with industry leaders and pioneers.
The Nomi M. Bergman Fellowship - The Nomi M. Bergman Fellowship is an annual fellowship that enables a high potential woman employed by a technology company to experience the strength of The WICT Network’s educational programs and robust professional network. The fellowship recipient embarks on a one-year journey designed to build crucial leadership development skills through The WICT Network’s resources and programs.
The WICT Network PAR Initiative - Since 2003, The WICT Network PAR Initiative has measured the status of women employees in the media, entertainment and technology industries based on three main criteria:
- Pay Equity
- Advancement Opportunities
- Resources for Work/Life Integration
A comprehensive advocacy program helping companies to set goals, institutionalize policies, measure progress and achieve results, the PAR Initiative showcases best practices in achieving stronger gender diversity. With a goal to improve diversity metrics for women, the PAR Initiative is supported by all of The WICT Network’s local chapters and underwritten by the Walter Kaitz Foundation.
Women’s TechConnect - The Women’s TechConnect Initiative is designed in partnership with Women in Technology honorees, The WICT Network and SCTE to provide a mentoring relationship between senior and rising professionals to help educate and retain women in the technology field within the media and entertainment industry.
This important initiative was created to develop a formal mentoring relationship between top-ranking and high-potential women in media technology. The goal of the program is to provide a crucial support system to better equip mentees to overcome workplace challenges, while helping them rise through the ranks until they themselves become the leaders and innovators.
The Women in Technology Award - Created in 1995 to recognize and honor leading women technology professionals, the annual Women in Technology Award acknowledges the achievements of one woman who has demonstrated outstanding professional growth and significantly contributed to the advancement of technology in the cable and media industry. The Women in Technology Award is presented in partnership with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), The WICT Network and Cablefax.