Press release

New ISACA Research Shows Nearly a Third of Men Mistakenly Believe Women Just Aren’t Interested in Technology Jobs

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A new ISACA study released today reveals that men and women both agree that women are underrepresented in the technology sector globally. However, their opinions vary as to the reasons for the disparity and on matters of equal pay.

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ISACA's Tech Workforce 2020 survey findings include insights into why tech governance, assurance, risk and security pros stay at their organizations, why they leave, and five ways your company can retain its talent. (Graphic: Business Wire)

ISACA’s Tech Workforce 2020 survey findings include insights into why tech governance, assurance, risk and security pros stay at their organizations, why they leave, and five ways your company can retain its talent. (Graphic: Business Wire)

Commissioned by ISACA’s SheLeadsTech program, results from Tech Workforce 2020: The Age and Gender Perception Gap will be presented to government officials today during ISACA’s annual Day of Advocacy event in Washington, D.C., According to the survey of more than 3,500 IT governance, risk, assurance and security professionals:

  • Over half of female respondents (56%) believe the lack of female role models in the sector is the primary reason for underrepresentation of women
  • Respondents over the age of 50, including men and women, believe the primary reason for underrepresentation is due to educational institutions needing to do more to encourage women to enter the field
  • In matters of pay disparity, female respondents from the tech workforce are twice as likely as their male counterparts (44% vs. 20%) to believe that pay inequity exists between men and women in the IT sector
  • Startlingly, 32% of the male respondents believe women find employment in the technology field less appealing than other sectors. Overwhelmingly, women say this is not the case.

“While it’s pleasing to see recognition and understanding within the IT profession about the underrepresentation of women, we still have a long way to go to achieve gender equality and equal pay,” said Gail Coury, board chair of One in Tech, an ISACA Foundation, and vice president and general manager, Silverline at F5 Networks. “Disturbingly, this year’s research shows a growing perception that females find other professions more appealing. We need to ensure this perception does not become a reality.”

The study also found additional gender nuances regarding the negotiation of salaries and job promotions. The results show that while men feel they are confident negotiators and women feel less confident, women are the ones who are more successful in obtaining raises and promotions.

Specifically, men reported slightly higher confidence levels in having a clear understanding of what they need to do for career advancement. However, more women (74%) than men (64%) claim to have been offered a salary increase or job level promotion in the last two years. This may be a result of organizations actively addressing gender pay gaps.

Tech force well compensated, but burnout common and job-hopping hindering business

The Tech Workforce 2020 research also shows that, given the current demand to fill positions, employees and job seekers are in the drivers’ seat. Seventy percent of the workforce can be considered “in-play” in terms of being recruited, saying they “definitely” or “may” foresee changing jobs in the next two years.

The majority of business technology professionals are getting rewarded with raises and promotions (66%) and have very high job satisfaction. However, compensation rewards do come with trade-offs. The majority (over half) of the business technology workforce report experiencing stress or burnout – prompted by heavy workloads, tight deadlines, long hours and lack of resources.

Interestingly, the perspectives on career satisfaction and mobility vary according to age, with younger professionals more likely to job hop and less likely to tolerate workplace stress:

  • Nearly half of respondents under 30 have changed jobs in the last two years and almost 40% foresee changing jobs or employers in the next two years.
  • Respondents also suggest that the older segment of the workforce is more willing to weather career stress and burnout conditions. The under 30s are more likely to leave a role for a less stressful environment than their older colleagues.

“In a white-hot market for all manner of IT audit, risk and compliance professionals, attrition is a constant challenge. You cannot effectively address your organization’s risks if you ignore the risk of losing your valued team members,” said Derek Duval, owner of Duval Search Associates, USA. “How do you retain your people when career options abound and ‘company loyalty’ is a laughably outdated concept? Here is the answer: Mentorship. Engagement. Connection. Express a genuine interest in your people and help them learn and grow while they contribute.”

Five Steps for Better Retention

The findings do suggest some actions organizational leaders can take to shore up business technology talent. According to ISACA, organizations must:

  1. Understand why staff depart. According to ISACA’s data, the reasons in ranked order include more interesting work, better compensation, better culture and more upward mobility.
  2. Understand why staff stay. ISACA data shows tech employees stay for work-life balance, location, interesting work and, compensation.
  3. Demonstrate opportunities for advancement. Organizations may not be doing all they can to create ambitious career paths for professionals. In an industry that is chronically workforce-constrained, two-thirds of business technology professionals believe they are limited in accessing career opportunities and have reached a seniority that prevents an upward career path.
  4. Keep compensation in regular review. Compensation is an important factor that staff consider when weighing whether to stay or leave their current job – second only to interesting work.
  5. Continually offer training and skill development, as they’re critical for career advancement. As the threat landscape continuously evolves, ISACA survey respondents noted that insufficient skills, limited access to career opportunities, lack of resources for training and lack of certifications were among the top obstacles facing their direct reports.

To read the entire Tech Workforce 2020 report, a related infographic and blog post, and listen to a related podcast episode, visit

To learn about ISACA’s SheLeadsTech program, including its ambassador and mentorship programs, visit


Now in its 50th anniversary year, ISACA ( is a global association helping individuals and enterprises achieve the positive potential of technology. Today’s world is powered by information and technology, and ISACA equips practitioners with the knowledge, credentials, education and community to advance their careers and transform their organizations. ISACA leverages the expertise of its 460,000 engaged practitioners—including its 140,000 members—in information and cybersecurity, governance, assurance, risk and innovation, as well as its enterprise performance subsidiary, CMMI Institute, to help advance innovation through technology. ISACA has a presence in more than 188 countries, including more than 220 chapters worldwide and offices in both the United States and China.