[Shenzhen, China, March 9, 2023] Huawei has released a seven-country survey of women’s perception of their digital skills showing a lack of skills development within the workplace is having a larger negative impact on women than men. The largest survey of its kind, from a sample size of 21,000 people, revealed that even in a digitalized workplace, women’s self-confidence in their skills and their progression and development at work are not keeping pace with men. The Report, authored by Dr. Anna Schneider, Professor of Business Psychology at Trier University of Applied Sciences, found that if gender issues are not addressed, then women will fall further behind. In the seven countries surveyed –China, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the U.K. and the U.S.,– the survey findings reflect striking similarities among women in their attitudes and perceptions of their digital skills.
Three key insights from the survey:
- Even when not lacking in digital skills, women can lack self-confidence in terms of recognizing their own abilities; This includes women working in IT and telecom sectors;
- Employers demand digital skills when recruiting talent, but many women report a lack of skill progression and development once employed;
- Women in China have a more neutral view of robots and smart machines than their European counterparts. In the European countries surveyed, 31% of women had a more negative of robots than men, while in China, it was only 13%.
Speaking at a Huawei x TechPerpetuum event called “Time to Reboot” which explored insights into how to address women’s confidence in their digital skills, Xie Yi, Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications at Huawei, explained: “The research tells us that it’s not only about the skills we provide women with, but the opportunities, the confidence, and the platforms that we can provide for them to use and improve those skills. Since 2008, Huawei has launched or sponsored multiple talent development programs and competitions at country, regional, and global levels and invested more than US$150 million, benefiting 1.54 million people from over 150 countries. Over the next five years, we will invest an additional US$150 million in digital talent development and we expect this effort to benefit more than three million additional people. These include scholarship programs, our Seeds for the Future training program, the Huawei ICT Academy, and Women in Tech. Another program, Technology for Education, has trained students in Kenya, South Africa, France, and China, amongst other countries, with a heavy focus on educating girls in Ghana.”
The assumption that people working in IT and telecoms have a higher degree of digital skills than the average worker was challenged by the findings that women in the two industries rated their digital skills 14% below their best type of skills in other categories, whereas men in IT and telecom rate them 31% higher than their best non-digital skill. “Without female participation in the IT and telecom sector, digitalization is bound to be biased,” noted Dr. Schneider. “Unique in its scope and depth, the results indicate that female underrepresentation in the engine room of digital innovation translates into fewer women working in highly digitalized workplaces.”
Digital transformation has become a critical driver of innovation around the world across multiple sectors but gender inequality in tech could slow down progress. By engaging the interest of women in technology at an early stage in their lives through supportive programs, they can be greater contributors to the development of the industry.