Women in Tech Are Masters Among Bachelors
Women are overqualified in tech and employers are starting to notice
Women in technical fields like software development, engineering, and IT have more education than men in the same roles, on average.
The overqualification, measured in difference in educational attainment, is the most pronounced for junior roles.
Over time, employers have caught up with female overqualification. Women are currently getting faster promotions than men across seniority levels.
In a previous newsletter, we discussed the seniority gap between men and women: Unlike the dream world of Barbie Land where Barbies dominate the workplace, women make up a smaller percentage of senior employees. This week, we turn to the education side of things: Do Barbies need more education than Kens to be able to compete in Kendom?
The answer depends on what occupations women work in. Breaking down the education gap, measured as the percentage difference in average years of education between men and women in the same roles, we find that women are overqualified compared to their male peers in technical roles. Women have more education than their male peers in IT, engineering, and software development roles, which, at times, amounts to the difference between a bachelor's degree and a master's degree.
Further, the education gap is not equal at different parts of the career ladder. While women have more education than their male peers at all seniority levels, the education gap is the most prevalent in junior positions. The education gap gets smaller for more senior positions.
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If women are overqualified for their seniority levels, it would only make sense for them to get promoted faster in equilibrium. Tracking the average time to promotion between the genders over time, we see that employers are starting to notice this gap as well.
The average time to promotion used to be longer for women than men in tech, but there has been a recent shift where women in tech are now being promoted at a faster rate. This is a possible nod to their overqualification in their roles: The higher education of women, on average, grants them faster promotions.
However, this shift towards correcting the overqualification of women has been the fastest for the most senior promotions. Women have had quicker promotions from middle to high seniority positions than promotions from junior to middle seniority positions. While it might be a while before we see an all-woman Supreme Court in the real world like in Barbie Land, women in the real world are becoming more educated and are advancing accordingly.