FIGURE 5-1 Race and ethnicity of technical workforce, by gender.

SOURCE: Simard, C. et al (2008). Climbing the Technical Ladder: Obstacles and Solutions for Mid-Level Women in Technology. Copyright granted by Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.

To describe the factors that lead to success in high-technology companies, Simard discussed survey results that probed employee perceptions about themselves and their coworkers. Men and women noted that in order to be successful, one must be analytical, innovative, questioning, risk-taking, collaborative, entrepreneurial, and assertive. Simard emphasized that the combination of these attributes suggests that a specific, assertive communication style may be preferred in order to advance in high-tech firms. In terms of personal perception, both men and women perceived themselves similarly as analytical, assertive, and risk-taking. However, significant gender differences were observed when determining self-perceptions of being innovative, entrepreneurial, and collaborative.2

Furthermore, women and men reported considerable differences in their belief that successful mid-level individuals need to work “long hours” in order to be successful, as shown in Figure 5-2. She stated that more women than men believed this attribute to be necessary for individual success, but fewer women perceived themselves to be working the many hours they determined necessary in order to be successful, while more men believed that they work as many hours as required for success.3


2 According to a 2010 report by the Anita Borg Institute, Senior Technical Women: A Profile of Success, only 29.6 percent entry/mid-level women describe themselves as an “innovator,” versus 38.1 percent of senior women and 60.2 percent of senior men. In addition, less than half of high-level technical employees in large companies perceive themselves as entrepreneurial (31.7 percent of women versus 40.5 percent of men).

3 Senior Technical Women: A Profile of Success indicated that senior women were significantly more likely than women at the entry and mid-levels to perceive themselves as working long hours.

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