by Charlotte Trueman

2019 CIO 100 gender diversity tracks above global average for CIO role and percentage of women working in UK tech sector

Jun 05, 2019

Credit: IDG

Some 19% of the 2019 CIO 100 is comprised of CIOs who are female. Although the figure is a decrease from the 22% representation in the 2018 CIO 100, the ratio is above reported industry figures for the percentage of CIOs who are female, and for the second year running above the percentage of women working in IT roles in the UK.

Recruiters Harvey Nash stated in its 2018 CIO Survey, conducted with KPMG, that the number of IT leaders who are female globally was at 12% – having been as low as 7% in 2014.

Tech UK, a membership body representing the UK technology industry, cited in March 2019 that 17% of employees in the UK technology sector are women, thus suggesting there is a disconnect between those starting their careers in technology and those reaching the most senior roles.

Slow progress

In April 2019 it was reported in the Wall Street Journal, citing analysis by consulting firm Korn Ferry from earlier in the year of the 1,000 biggest public and private companies in the US by revenue, that about 18% of Chief Information Officers or Chief Technology Officers were women, up from 16% in 2018.

In Fortune 500 companies in 2018, there were 101, or 20%, CIOs who were female, a big gain compared to 80 in 2017. However, the number CEOs who are female at Fortune 500 companies sit at a lowly 27, or 5.4%. Furthermore, 154 of the 500 companies have 100% male management teams, and none of the executive teams is 100% female.

This slow but steady progress appears to be reflected in the CIO 100 initiative, which has shown an upwards trend in female representation, from 5% in 2012 and 2013, to 7% (2014), 13% (2015), 16% (2016 and 2017), and 22% in 2018.

Indeed, many of organisations and individuals recognised have initiatives in place to help promote diversity within their organisations, but are acknowledging there’s still a long way to go.

Talent development

Discussing his previous role as CIO at Santa Fe Relocation, CIO at Covea Insurance, Graeme Howard, said: “Our gender diversity within technology was very outbalanced at below 5%. Over the course of the year, we worked to address this balance to get to a 20% female to male ratio.

“That was still a long way from where we needed to be, but we made a material impact and it has been one of the key drivers in creating that inclusive culture and technology brand.”

The advice Tech UK president Jacqueline de Rojas CBE offered following the 2018 CIO 100 still stands true today: “There’s an urgency needed to attract more women and girls into technology careers,” she said. “We are already creating more jobs than we can fill and digitisation is continuing at pace.

“We must foster talent wherever it exists and funnel it into the jobs of the future, ensuring that the sector remains creative and pluralistic.”