Tech’s Layoff Spree Has Disproportionately Affected Women Workers’ Jobs

By Kirstie McDermott
18 August 2023 | 15 Shares

SourcE: Shutterstock

The gender balance in tech has long been a source of angst. Historically, Silicon Valley has had low female representation––but things are getting worse.

At 32%, the share of women working in tech is 3% lower than it was in 1984, almost 40 years ago.

The number of women in tech leadership roles has fallen to 28%, and they make up just 19% of senior vice president roles, and only 15% of CEOs. Additionally, 39% of women in tech say that gender bias stymies their promotion chances, with 50% of women in tech roles leaving them by the age of 35.

For girls and women, there are long-standing systemic issues around STEM takeup. Women make up just 21% of engineering majors and 19% of computer science majors, for example. But the problem starts even earlier, despite elementary and middle school aged girls performing just as well as their male peers on standardized tests in STEM fields.

And as a result, gender gaps are particularly high in some of the fastest-growing and highest-paid jobs of the future, like computer science and engineering, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

None of those numbers represent great news for women in the sector, and the Covid-19 crisis has made things worse. During the pandemic, women were nearly twice as likely to either leave their jobs, be furloughed, or be fired.

Job cuts hit women hardest, an online redundancies tracker, has found that more than 44% of the 250,898 people laid off between October 2022 and March 2023 were female.

Some of this can be explained by the fact that it is jobs in HR, recruitment and marketing which have been hardest hit by tech’s cutbacks––and these roles tend to have a higher proportion of female workers.

But other research from intelligence platform Eightfold AI has found that women in tech are 65% more likely than men to lose their jobs.


Source: Shutterstock

For some women who have been laid off, the problems they face around gender bias, stereotyping, lack of representation, and unequal pay, are enough to make them move from the sector entirely.

Others fight back. In December 2022, two women who lost their jobs at Twitter during layoffs filed a lawsuit, claiming that the company laid off 57% of its female workers compared with 47% of men. The gender disparity was even worse across engineering roles, where 63% of women lost their jobs compared to 48% of men,

If you’re looking to make a move to a company that supports and cares for its women workers, then there are plenty to choose from, according to a 2023 Best Employers For Women list.

Browse the Tech HQ Job Board to find female-friendly companies, as well as thousands of open roles, such as the three below.

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