Low Female Participation in Canadian Tech Sector Likely to Continue

Women account for barely 27.1% of the workforce in the Canadian ICT industry, partly because female students show less interest in pursuing engineering degrees.

Canadian tech sector

A leading lobby group for female professionals has said that women woefully under-represent in the Canadian tech sector and the participation level will continue to be low for the foreseeable future.

This is due to women taking less interest in pursuing engineering degrees and because the ICT industry has no system in place to hire and retain female employees, according to a new report by WCT (Women in Communications and Technology).

Today, women account for barely 27.1% of the workforce in the Canadian tech sector, nearly a 3% decrease from 30% in 2011, according to the study.

“When it comes to attracting and retaining female technology professionals, the ICT industry is lagging behind the competition,” the lobby group stated.

The news comes as the talent shortage worsens in Canada and sectors like finance, health, and retail increasingly adopt digital tools. To keep pace with this growth, says the lobby group, Canada should generate 182,000 skilled ICT workers by 2019.

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Female under-representation in the technology sector is also a matter of concern in the US, where the number of female students majoring in computer science has been declining year after year.

“In 1984, 37% of computer science majors in the US were women; today only 18% are,” says the American Association of University Women.

“Unfortunately, the domestic supply of ICT graduates and workers [in Canada] will be insufficient to meet this demand,” says the WCT. “Engaging all available talent, including women, youth, immigrants, indigenous persons, and persons with disabilities will be critical to mitigating the talent shortage.”

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