October 24, 2016
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Report Highlights What Matters Most To Top Women Execs.



PALO ALTO, Calif.----A new research report released today by the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology (ABI) sheds light on the attributes of senior level technical women who, at only four percent of the 1,795 technical men and women surveyed for the report, represent a rarity in the technology industry. The report, titled Senior Technical Women: A Profile of Success, examines the characteristics of high-ranking women in technology, how they perceive themselves and their top attributes for success, and what organizational practices they most care about. The ABI report is publicly available at http://anitaborg.org/files/Senior-Technical-Women-A-Profile-of-Success.pdf.

“This report offers a snapshot of a rarity in technology: senior technical women working at prominent technology companies in Silicon Valley”

Senior Technical Women: A Profile of Success explores the demographics and attributes shared among women who defy the odds and achieve senior level positions on the technical track. It also makes recommendations for companies looking to retain senior technical women and for women seeking to advance to senior level positions.

Report Highlights

  • Successful women in technology show the same attributes of success, human capital, and work values, as senior level men. Senior technical women are collaborative, assertive, moderate risk-takers who work long hours, and they have made significant concessions to advance.
  • Manager vs. Individual Contributor: Women in the study were significantly more likely than men to hold managerial positions. Conversely, men at higher level positions were more likely to hold individual contributor positions, suggesting that men and women are tracking differently at the senior level. Lack of representation of women in the highest individual contributor positions is a loss for companies, as it represents an absence of diversity of thought in the innovation process.
  • Family and Career: Senior women are significantly more likely to have children than are entry or mid-level women. However, 51 percent of senior men report that their partners have primary responsibility for the household and children, while 24 percent of senior women have partners who have primary responsibility of the household. This suggests that senior women face work-family challenges similar to those faced by women at the mid-level, with the additional pressure of a higher position of responsibility. Combining high level positions and family responsibilities comes at a price. Senior women are significantly more likely than men to have delayed having children, as well as cut back on their social life to achieve career goals.


Based on the research findings, the report makes recommendations for companies who wish to retain senior technical women and further advance their careers. Some of the recommendations include:

1. Early intervention is needed for career development on the individual contributor track – women who are excelling as individual contributors should be provided with ample mentoring, networking, and professional development opportunities.

2. Consider onramps and offramps for the individual contributor and management paths to offer different points of entry for technical employees on each path. Provide more opportunities for movement along the technical career path between management and individual contributor positions to reflect a diversity of work lifecycles and family configurations.

3. Be aware of the diversity of family configurations and responsibilities of the technical workforce – advancement practices should be examined to reward accomplishments over “face time.”

4. Companies should consider communication styles as part of diversity dimensions – invest in raising the awareness of managers for unconscious bias associated with gender and communication styles, and examine the presence of such bias in recruitment and advancement processes.

“This report offers a snapshot of a rarity in technology: senior technical women working at prominent technology companies in Silicon Valley,” said Dr. Caroline Simard, vice president of research and executive programs for the Anita Borg Institute and co-author of the study. “More research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms that lead to advancement for technical women, but we hope to have shed some light on those particular characteristics of women who’ve persisted in breaking down the barriers to reaching higher executive levels. Greater visibility into the paths of success can only lead to a better understanding of how to advance more technical women, increase diversity and, ultimately, the innovation that leads to success for both individuals and businesses.”

For more information, visit:

About the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI)

The Anita Borg Institute provides resources and programs to help industry, academia, and government recruit, retain, and develop women leaders in high-tech fields, resulting in higher levels of technological innovation. ABI programs serve high-tech women by creating a community and providing tools to help them develop their careers. ABI is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 charitable organization. ABI Partners include: Google, Microsoft, HP, Cisco, First Republic Bank, Intel, National Science Foundation, NetApp, SAP, Sun Microsystems, Symantec, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Thomson Reuters, CA, Intuit, Wilson Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook, and Raytheon. For more information, visithttp://www.anitaborg.org/news/research/.



Ventana Public Relations
Denise Nelson, 925-837-6277


STORY TAGS: report, women, executives, leadership, achievement, entrepreneur, entrepreneurs, black radio network, minority news, women news, business news, Senior Technical Women: A Profile of Success


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