29.03.2023

Enter IT: the supply of female programmers in the Russian labor market is growing.

Enter IT: the supply of female programmers in the Russian labor market is growing.

Over the past two years, the share of female IT specialists has increased by 2 p.p. - from 30 per cent in 2021 to 32 per cent in 2022, according to hh.ru. As a result, nearly one in three people looking to work in IT today is female. The gap in quantity is shrinking as well: while there will be 56% fewer female IT specialists CVs than male CVs in 2021, there will be 52% more female CVs in 2022. The fastest growing age cohorts of women in IT are 14-18 and 31-40 (+41% year-over-year), and the 41-60 cohort grew by an average of 50%, indicating both an influx of women entering universities to study IT, and more active retraining of mid-career women in IT who find themselves in the labor market and are of interest to employers. The growth rate of invitations to these older cohorts is higher than the growth rate of CVs for women in this age group. According to hh.ru information, the total volume of invitations to women in IT is catching up with the invitations of men, even against the background of the predominance of men in the market: in 2021, the total number of invitations of women (58 thousand) was half the number of invitations of men (108 thousand), in 2022 they were 39% more, and the quantitative gap narrowed to 42 thousand (106.5 thousand invitations of women in 2022 against 148.5 thousand invitations of men).

Worldwide, the number of women working in IT is growing every year, said Yulia Poslavskaya, director of marketing and communications for Innotech Group. "The data show that over the past four years, there has been a 6.9% increase in the percentage of women in high tech jobs, to 25%. Looking at Russia's IT market, the share of female applicants reached 29% in 2022. At the same time, large technology companies are increasingly publicly committed to improving gender diversity, including increasing the number of women in technical and leadership roles," she said.

According to Elizaveta Russkikh, HR Director at GoodsForecast, IT is one of the industries where women can reach their full potential. "There are traditionally more male roles, such as developer, but our company has many female developers, and even the head of development for one of the key areas is a woman. Half of the project managers are women; 80 percent of the systems analysts are women," she says. If you look at the market as a whole, then, as Elizaveta Russkikh says, the ratio of men to women in the market is 70 percent to 30 percent. But there is no accurate data because no one has done such studies. "In our company, women make up 40 percent of employees, 10 percent of developers (including team leaders), and the vast majority of analysts, i.e. 80 percent," she says.

"Experience and knowledge, the ability to listen and hear, the willingness to work in a team, the interest in the project we are inviting you to be part of - these skills are not gender-specific. Our company is rather an exception to the general trend regarding the presence of females in management positions. We also have very strong female project managers, about 15%. Overall, about 25% of the engineers in our company are females. Most of these are UI/UX designers and testers. The fact that men still predominate in technical universities is probably the reason for this. However, the percentage of females entering the technical professions is slowly but surely growing, "- said Lubov Hripko, director of HR Department of IT-company Auriga. 

"In the near-engineering specialties, there are really more males coming first: perhaps there are some stereotypes held by parents, teachers, and graduates themselves. But gender is not a significant factor in the IT industry itself. As for management, the situation may be different, but it is not the IT sphere in its pure form, but the sphere of corporate governance, which is generally more conservative,” says Alexey Kirpichnikov, head of the development department of SKB Kontur. 

According to Nikolay Sokornov, the head of Reksoft's software development department, software development has expanded over the past twenty years - a number of professions and specializations have emerged where qualities traditionally associated with the fair sex are required and valued. He said: "A parallel with vehicles is obvious. If you think about it, these are rather complicated technical devices, but gradually they became so convenient and easy to use in everyday life that both pensioners and women, who are statistically much more careful drivers, jumped behind the wheel. The software is going to follow the same path. It is aimed at the mass user, which means that it should be clearer, more convenient and easier to use. And without women, it is extremely difficult to get it right. For example, women have a natural built-in ability to multitask that men unfortunately do not. Males' multitasking is often artificial. Men always do one task - one just manages to switch to the next one faster. Women, on the other hand, can really keep multiple tasks in mind. This is especially important in the test environment. This is where you need a comprehensive, high quality software check. Of course, it is possible to check the functionality sequentially, but a completely different effect is achieved by the 360-degree view, which is typical for female. We have many successful female test leads. Indeed, 63 percent of the QA team at Reksoft is made up of women. 

According to Nadezhda Altukhova, HR Director of IW Group, the gender imbalance is related to the fact that Russian society has long been influenced by the stereotype that "women are of more humanitarian mindset and not interested in exact sciences. "The stereotype is generally rooted in history, where, as we remember, women were entrusted with the economy and education went only in that direction. In the majority of cases, women in technology companies are in positions that ensure the work of production, but not in positions that do the actual work of production. But it is noteworthy that in my experience, women are excellent project managers, analysts, and testers," she says. At the same time, said Lyudmila Bogatyreva, head of the department of digital solutions of the agency "Polylog", the process of women's entry into the IT industry should occur "naturally". "This process should take place in a natural way. The percentage of women in the IT industry has been increasing over the past few years. This is something that is clearly visible in the professional community: There are a lot more of them out there in online forums and at events. However, men continue to predominate in the top management positions of IT companies. In 2015, less than 10% of IT managers worldwide were women, according to Statista. By 2021, that number rose to 15 percent," she said.