December 13, 2016

More women needed in IT careers

The College of Business hosted a panel discussion in Monte Ahuja Hall on Nov. 29 about the shortage of women pursuing careers in technology, citing as an example Information Systems, a key component in businesses, but severely understaffed by female professionals.

The panel comprised of four women from different technology firms in Cleveland. Abby Copenhaver and Kelsey Kilbane work as talent acquisition specialists at Blue Chip Consulting; Jennifer Yaeger is a team lead and enterprise content manager at Lubrizol; and Olga Nagdaseva is a senior test technician in International Quality Assurance at Hyland. The last two panelists are also Cleveland State University alumnae.

“I think even just outside of IT specifically, women bring diversity and offer a different perspective,” Kilbane said. “There’s all kinds of studies out there that show that women CEO’s tend to be more democratic and they’re better with fostering interpersonal communication amongst the organization.”

By 2020, The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the creation of 1.4 million new jobs in computer science, yet since the 80’s the number of women pursuing careers in the field has continued to drop.

The reasons given behind this gender imbalance vary, from lack of female mentorship or encouragement from an early age and into adulthood. Even so, more employers are diversifying their tech departments and are partnering with colleges and universities to attract more females in technology education and career expansion.

“Women have different relationship-building skills and different levels of empathy,” Nagdaseva said. “They may be better or connect in different ways with customers and employees. And there’s a disproportionate [number] of women pursuing fields in technology. So we need to encourage ourselves to maybe pursue a career in IT or encourage other women.”

At the end of the discussion, the guests invited students to ask questions regarding information systems and related positions in Cleveland, and also reviewed resumes.


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