Layoffs Disproportionately Impact Female Tech Workers, Data Finds
Following the recent wave of tech layoffs in the UK, female tech workers appear to be disproportionately impacted according to an analysis of National Statistics data commissioned by Integro Accounting.
The analysis reveals that the proportion of female employees in the UK tech sector has experienced a decline for the first time since 2018, reaching 20.1% in 2022. This decrease follows a continuous increase in female representation over the previous five years, peaking at 22.7% in 2021. The impact is not limited to permanent employment alone, as the number of female contractors also declined from 16.8% in 2021 to 12.1% in 2022.
In just one year, the count of women tech employees experienced a significant decrease of 6.5%, dropping from 384,025 to 359,154. Meanwhile, the number of male tech employees continued to climb during the same period, showing a notable increase of 8.6% from 1,306,833 to 1,419,590 between 2021 and 2022.
The findings from Integro mirror previous research around the issue of layoffs and the impact on female representation in the industry. Analysis from Layoffs.fyi, from earlier this year, found that in Europe women accounted for 41.6% of job cuts, even though they only make up over one-third of the workforce.
An examination of the US job market likewise indicates that female tech workers face an unequal distribution of job redundancies. During the period spanning from October 2022 to June 2023, female tech employees accounted for 46% of job cuts across the industry.
The decrease in female representation resulting from layoffs in the UK reflects a similar pattern observed during the pandemic, where female tech workers were disproportionately placed on furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This scheme imposed a maximum pay limit of 80% or £2,500 per month. Additionally, the wage disparity between male and female tech workers widened between 2020 and 2021, with female employees earning an average of 12.9% less than their male counterparts (an increase from 10.9%).
Managing Director of Integro Accounting, Christian Hickmott, states: “The UK tech sector has made great strides in boosting female representation in recent years so it is disappointing to see much of that progress undone during the recent round of tech layoffs.”
He also noted that female workers tend to be “more highly concentrated in part-time or non-technical roles which are often the first to go during a downturn.”
“Women are less likely to be represented in senior roles, which in turn are less likely to be targeted for redundancies. Under 15% of IT Directors are women compared to nearly a third of tech workers in support roles. Given it is the IT Director who normally wields the axe and the support roles most likely to be cut, the challenge is to increase female representation at senior levels.”
“Many of the tech roles created during the pandemic were remote, which favoured women juggling career and caring responsibilities. These remote roles have been among the first to go as the economy slowed and the pushback against remote working gathered pace.”
“The silver lining in these data is the relative resilience of the UK tech sector to the wave of job losses initiated by US tech giants in Q3 of last year. US tech companies went on a hiring binge during the pandemic and have found it much easier to shed staff due to weaker labour laws. The European tech sector, by contrast, isn’t characterised by such a hire and fire working culture.”
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