Artificial Intelligence

GenAI ‘a unique opportunity’ to level the playing field for women in tech

16th May 2024
Sheryl Miles

The proliferation of generative AI in the workplace has helped level the playing field for women in technology, according to a new study from Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Sixty-eight percent of women in the tech industry report using a generative AI tool more than once a week, compared to 66% of men, highlighting that women are on par with, and in some cases outpacing, men in terms of generative AI adoption. This is particularly true for senior women in tech functions such as engineering, IT, customer support, sales, and marketing.

The findings come from BCG’s ‘Women Leaders Are Paving the Way in GenAI’ report, a survey of over 6,500 women and men employees in the UK, US, Germany, India, and Japan.

Generally, BCG’s report suggested that senior women are as aware, if not more so, of the critical importance of generative AI in the workplace compared to men, while junior women tended to be less aware. BCG suggested that the seniority gap could be due to junior women having less access to networks and discussions where generative AI strategy is formed, and they aren’t as equally represented in Generative AI initiatives as junior men.

Sai Bendi, Software Development Manager at Encompass Corporation, commented: “The gender gap in technology is an issue that is rightly still front and centre, with the need for continued action apparent. In tandem with the increased spotlight on gender diversity that we are seeing, there is no doubt that the acceleration and development of new technologies, such as generative AI, has the potential to act as a catalyst for positive change as women are presented with opportunities to use the tools at their disposal to their advantage when it comes to boosting their skills and confidence. 

"In our increasingly digital-first landscape, the possibilities afforded by technology such as AI provide the perfect chance for women to take the mantle when it comes to focusing on their own learning and development to position themselves to play a part in the advancement of critical innovation. Women must believe in themselves and embrace their skills to be at the forefront of the AI revolution.

“Businesses, in turn, must show commitment to supporting the development of AI – and wider technology – skills for their employees by investing in training courses and support networks that will enable them to drive forward projects with purpose. This is essential in order for businesses and individuals to keep pace with a wide array of technological advancements, and will allow those currently within the industry to progress, as well as attract a new generation of talent that can help to influence the overall gender gap.”

However, the findings revealed that senior women in nontechnical roles had less confidence in generative AI skills than their male counterparts, with junior women even less confident.

“Fewer than 30% of middle managers in tech today are women,” said Maria Barisano, a Managing Director and Partner at BCG and a co-author of the report. “GenAI presents a unique opportunity to narrow the gender gap in the tech industry, but it requires proactive actions from both companies and the women employed by them.”

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