7. Applicant Gender Analysis

What trends emerged in gender representation of applicant pools?

Much of this report focuses on the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic had on the hiring landscape. Yet our analysis also revealed some general hiring trends. A few of those trends deal with gender representation in applicant pools.

While gender bias garners much of the attention in discussions of equity in the workplace, it’s only one of many that require bias guidance. Other common biases include racism, tokenism, ableism, ageism, sexism, nationalism, elitism, and religious bias. Interwoven through these biases are various intersectionalities that, when combined, can compound inequity. Nonetheless, narrowing in on an individual attribute such as gender reveals nuance and a surprise or two.

For this report, we collected hiring data directly from over 10,000 employers for the years 2019, 2020, and 2021. Looking solely at technology jobs, we analyzed the data for trends. We found that women were underrepresented in applicant pools for tech jobs, generally speaking, although representation did vary depending on other factors.

Key Takeaways: Applicant pools continued to be largely male

→ Although the industry has made efforts to improve representation, male dominance of applicant pools shows that more needs to be done. Male applicants represented 67% of all applicants to tech jobs. They represented 65% of applicant pools for Junior jobs (typically requiring fewer than four years of experience) and 72% of applicant pools for Senior jobs (typically requiring 10+ years of experience).

→ User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX) Design, Quality Assurance (QA), and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) jobs had the highest proportion of female applicants. Meanwhile, core Software Engineering jobs had gender representation skewed towards males.

→ In Software Engineering (Frontend and Backend), female representation dropped significantly between Junior jobs and Mid-level jobs (typically requiring between four and 10 years of experience). In QA, UI/UX Design, and ERP, this dropoff occurred at 10+ years of experience. Although companies have taken steps to improve diversity, both title and job inflation may have adversely impacted these steps.

Overall applicant pools gender representation

An overarching trend we found in our analysis was the underrepresentation of women in applicant pools for tech jobs in general. This trend was fairly constant, although factors such as the seniority level of a job or the type of job also had an impact on gender representation.

7.1 Tech jobs still attracted mostly male applicants

Overall, the average tech job attracted about 77 applicants. Only a quarter of those applicants were female, while over two-thirds were male. We were unable to identify the gender of about 8% of the applicants analyzed

67%
Male
25%
Female
8%
Unknown

7.2 Female representation decreased with job seniority

Breaking out jobs by seniority revealed that Senior tech jobs tended to have smaller applicant pools overall than Mid-level and Junior jobs. Furthermore, female representation decreased as seniority level increased, with female representation highest in Junior jobs, lower in Mid-level jobs, and lowest in Senior jobs.

Female
Male
Unknown
Female
Male
Unknown

7.3 UI/UX Design, QA and ERP had the highest proportion of women in applicant pools

Of course, the type of job also influenced gender representation within applicant pools. Jobs in UI/UX Design, QA, and ERP had a high percentage of female representation (about 38% on average). Cross-functional jobs in areas like Product Management, Project Management, and Data had even higher representation (+25% on average). 

Meanwhile, Core Software Engineering jobs had relatively low levels of female representation (about 19% on average). And Technology Infrastructure and Information Technology (IT) jobs had even lower levels.

Female
Male
Unknown
Female
Male
Unknown

Female representation in applicant pools by job type and seniority level

A few interesting trends emerged when we looked more closely at female representation in applicant pools for different types of tech jobs.

7.4 Female representation for Software Engineering jobs decreased significantly at Mid-Level

Representation of females in applicant pools for Senior Software Engineering jobs was about 25% lower than it was for Junior jobs. The one exception to that was for Mobile Software Engineering jobs.

7.5 Female representation for QA, UI/UX Design, and ERP jobs decreased significantly at the Senior level

Even in jobs where female representation was high, we saw a reduction in female representation as the seniority level of the job rose. Although the dynamics of the reduction varied. In QA jobs, the dropoff occurred at the Mid-level stage. For UI/UX Design and ERP jobs, the dropoff occurred between Mid-level and Senior jobs.

7.6 Female representation for cross-functional jobs decreased significantly at the Senior level

A similar trend was apparent for cross-functional tech jobs in areas such as Data, Product Management, and Project Management. Female representation was higher-than-average in applicant pools for Junior cross-functional jobs, but it tapered progressively as jobs became more Senior. For Data jobs, however, the tapering was less progressive. We saw a significant drop in female representation between Mid-level and Senior Data jobs.

Female representation by source

A few more interesting trends emerged when we analyzed the intersection of gender and applicant source (i.e., Referrals, Company Career Sites, Online Job Boards, et cetera).

7.7 Majority of female applicants applied using Organic Sources

Women made up about a quarter of applicant pools on average, or about 19 applicants in a pool of 77 applicants overall. Of those 19 female applicants, almost all of them (85%) came from Organic Sources. We found that:

  • 67% came from Company Career Sites and LinkedIn Job Posts
  • 18% came from Indeed Job Posts and other Organic Sources (i.e., Online Job Boards)
  • 13% came from Prospecting and other Inorganic approaches
36%
Company Career Site
32%
LinkedIn Job Posts
11%
Indeed Job Posts
7%
Other Organic Sources
7%
Prospecting
7%
Referrals, Events, Other

7.8 Majority of female applicants applied using Organic Sources, regardless of the job's seniority

Looking through the lens of seniority, Organic Sources remained the primary source of women in applicant pools. Meanwhile, no source showed a significantly higher rate of female representation, with most showing rates similar to overall rates of female representation.

Company Career Site
LinkedIn Job Posts
Indeed Job Posts
Other Organic Sources
Prospecting
Referrals, Events, Other
Company Career Site
LinkedIn Job Posts
Indeed Job Posts
Other Organic Sources
Prospecting
Referrals, Events, Other

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