UPDATE March 2018:
Australia's female labour force participation rate reached an historic high of 60.5 per cent in January 2018 according to latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in February 2018. Female full-time employment accounted for 55 per cent of the full-time employment growth over the past year.
Women in IT - the sector is growing and gender breakdowns are evening up (slowly) but is the industry holding women back? Are they accessing equal opportunity and pay in the IT sector? The Australian Labour Force Report, June 2017 paints an interesting picture of female employment across Australia.
In June 2017 there were over 5 million Australian women in the workforce with over 3 million of those being in full time employment. According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, whilst the gender pay gap remains, women are more likely to hold a year 12 or above qualification (90% compared to 86%) and a bachelor degree (40% compared to 30%) than men. All of which means that women presently have the edge over men when it comes to qualifications but are women really getting a fair pay packet bite out of one of Australia’s best paying professions?
Women in IT - slow, steady gains over time
There is no doubt that women are succeeding in IT careers but by taking a closer look at the breakdown of women’s roles within the IT sector it is possible to see where women are doing well and where they are lagging behind (there is currently no IT role where the numbers of female employees exceed the number of male employees). Women make up almost half the workforce for Graphic and Web Designers and a third of it for ICT Sales Assistants and ICT Trainers. Conversely women are lagging severely behind men in roles such as Telecommunications, Computer Network Professionals and ICT Support and Test Engineers.
Why should they though? With IT being one of the best paying professions, isn’t it about time women started finding equal status across all job roles? Traditionally it has been difficult for females to enter more technical IT roles but with the growing availability of online courses specifically tailored to meet the needs of those who require flexibility and support, it can be hoped that the picture will start to change.
With the diversity of IT professions comes the need for a matching diversity of options to study IT online. Upskilled is one of Australia’s biggest RTOs and offers qualifications across a range that amply meets this need. We take a look at the three areas of IT employment with strong future growth where women are currently falling behind and consider suitable courses:
#1: Telecommunications (future growth ‘strong’)
Technical telecommunications specialists develop, monitor and support telecommunication networks. This is very much a hands on role and a level of comfort with hardware is required. A telecommunications technician will need an Advanced Diploma or Diploma along with possible vendor qualifications.
#2: Computer Networking (future growth ‘strong’)
Computer network professionals develop, implement, maintain and manage networking strategies. They work with both hardware and software providing user support and monitoring performance. A computer networking professional without at least 5 years experience will require a Bachelor Degree.
#3: ICT Support and Testing (future growth ‘very strong’)
Support and test engineers are responsible for the procedures and strategies that quality assure IT systems. An entry-level support and test engineer without at least 5 years' experience will need an Advanced Diploma or a Bachelor Degree at minimum. This is an exciting and dynamic area of interest for many people and it's imperative to get the qualifications you need to succeed.
Get where you want to go with online learning in IT
Gaining qualifications at these levels is not impossible, with flexible, accessible learning. At Upskilled we have done our best to make our courses accessible for everybody by:
- Including both Diploma and Advanced Diploma online courses in our course menu to ensure that everybody has access to a course at their optimum level. For example Upskilled's Diploma of Information Technology Networking would be ideal for women wanting to work in Computer Networking.
- Providing Graduate Certificate qualifications, which take less time (typically) to complete than a full degree and can easily be studied as a flexible online course. For example, the Graduate Certificate in Information Technology Sustainability would be a great launching point for IT careers in ICT Support and Testing.
- Guaranteeing a level of flexibility that will allow all learners to move through learning and assessment at a pace that suits them.
- Developing a program of ongoing student support that can advise and help from online course selection to course completion.
The evidence above strongly suggests that if women want to narrow the gender gap in IT careers opportunities, the most obvious first step is to study IT online. Education however is not just about gaining knowledge and qualifications. Education has intrinsic value as an investment in oneself and ones future.
We all need to feel that we are valued, sometimes by ourselves as much as by others. Through education women can experience a sense of self-worth and achievement that may not be open to them by other means. We predict that online education is about to cause a female jobs revolution as more and more women realise that their secret career goals are not as out of reach as they originally thought.
Ready to hit the ground running with an IT career?
Check out everything you need to know about the sector by having a look at Upskilled's Industry Insights pages. Here you'll find all the statistics about the industry you want to know; from wage growth to the job outlook of a profession, to gender split, age breakdowns and jobs, state-by-state.
Have a look at Upskilled's Information Technology Industry Insight and explore your future career today.