Pressures to overachieve and out-do male counterparts in the workplace are nothing new for women in the corporate arena but how much worse are these issues in the ultra male-dominated industry of Information Technology? The technology sector has always struggled to attract female employees, keep them and show them substantial progression but with a slew of high-flying engineers and executives furiously tapping on that ‘glass ceiling’, the industry could be due a major upgrade.
Newly-appointed Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, is proof that there is room for women at the top of the tech world. Her appointment, which was effective July 17th 2012, is the highlight of a career spent primarily at Google where she was the company’s twentieth employee and spent thirteen years climbing the ladder from engineer, designer, product manager and finally executive. With a ginormous pay package worth more than $59 million over the next several years that they hope to keep her, Yahoo! have demonstrated their great confidence in the thirty-seven year old exec. Having lured her away from Google, the flailing search engine are looking to utilise Mayer’s drive, leadership skills and knack for innovation to revitalise the company. As Yahoo!’s fifth CEO in five years, Mayer certainly has her work cut out for her but plans to increase the amount of developers and introduce increased security and anonymity across the site have already been met with excitement from a team thirsty for inspiration.
Sandy Carter is Vice President of Social Business Evangelism at IBM. In a digital world now heavily-reliant on building communities on-line, Carter has been responsible for directing the company’s social business initiatives. As one of IBM’s top bloggers, Carter has won numerous awards for her work. Carolyn Leighton, founder and chairwoman of Women in Technology International, (WITI) said of Carter, “Sandy Carter uniquely combines extraordinary expertise in the worlds of business and technology, travelling the world to evangelize the use of social media to help strengthen communication and revenue in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer strategy.
As co-founder and chairwoman of HTC Corporation, Wang is at the forefront of mobile technology. Forbes Magazine described her as “the most powerful woman in wireless.” A title she has certainly been living up to with globally renowned products for their Android and Windows platforms through their partnerships with Google and Microsoft.
Having worked her way up from an internship, Burns is now chair of Xerox as well as being a board director of American Express. As one of the most influential African American women in business, Burns is dedicated to mentoring young women, encouraging education and interest in the tech sector. All this while spear-heading community initiatives and programs that will improve the U.S.’s science, tech, engineering and math education.
As Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sandberg oversees business operations for the social media giant. This includes sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy and communications. Also a Google alumnus, she joined Facebook to become the company’s highest paid employee with a net salary of over $30 million in 2011.
When all the chips are down
What do all of these women have in common? They have been described as innovative, courageous and passionate in their roles – and they started from the bottom and worked their way up. They find time to be advocates for females in the industry while approaching their positions with a focus on change and development. Their holistic approaches to business and consumer relations are exactly what is required to attract intelligent, jaded customers post the consumer-naivety of the dot.com boom. The playing field may not be equal but with women like this providing inspiration for female engineers, we should see employment trends changing in the world of IT.