This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Techies are pretty dang happy at work; AI's effect on female blue-collar workers; college students are majority female though tech workforce lags; and more.
Despite tech's reputation for having double standards for different genders and races, people who work in tech are still some of the most satisfied with their careers. A study from CNBC and SurveyMonkey examined the happiness indexes of different professions, and found that 90% of tech workers are satisfied with their jobs. "With their high salaries, enviable perks, and jobs that really are changing the way the world works, tech workers are a lot better off than workers in struggling industries," the article states, though it also mentions that "big gaps remain" when it comes to tech being an industry where everyone feels welcome and is treated equally. (See WiCipedia: 'Trusting One's Dopeness' & the Happiest Women in Tech.)
Glass Half Full
What is there to be unhappy about when you've got great pay, helpful perks and
(we assume) premium coffee?
With 56% of college students identifying as women, and fewer men than ever enrolling in higher education, you would think there would be a trend to women taking the lead at jobs that require college degrees. University Business explains that colleges have been majority female for over a decade, yet women are still the minority in sectors like computer science due to cultural issues, not access to education. At the UB Tech 2019 Conference, experts gathered to talk about the topic and remediation tactics for women entering male-dominated fields. "It's not easy to be heard," Nada Marie Anid, vice president for strategic communications and external affairs at the New York Institute of Technology, said during the summit. "When women speak at meetings, they tend to be ignored. When they come up with an idea, someone else repeats the same idea and makes it theirs. Raise your hand regardless." (See Undeterred, More Women Are Applying for Technical Roles Each Year.)
In order to ensure that all genders and races have equal opportunities at work as adults, it's crucial that they have the same resources and education as children. Yet The Hill says that "in K-12 education, ... far too few students are learning the computing knowledge and skills needed for participation in the future tech-driven workforce," and the shortages often fall on "students of color, rural students, and low-income students." They argue that in this day and age, computer science should be a required course for all schools to implement (and one that all students can access). Easier said than done, though without it, we'll have a very divided future of tech. (See HPE Launches Interactive Game Teaching Young Girls Critical Cybersecurity Skills.)
A recent article on Forbes addressed the effect of new technologies on blue-collar female workers, which admittedly isn't something we'd thought much about beyond the whole "the robots will steal our jobs" issue, especially when blue-collar workers will most likely be hit the hardest. Yet new technologies are also creating opportunities for women to break into male-dominated industries like trucking and construction. In construction, for example, instead of the worker physically having to do the labor, new innovations have made it possible for "robotics [to] assist the worker in picking up heavy loads," which means that strength isn't the defining factor in who snags the job. Likewise, new trucking technologies, such as "fleet tracking and navigation software" and intelligent alarms, have also made the industry safer for women. Who knew that the robots would be so egalitarian? (See Automation's Advocates in Downsizing Denial and How AI Will Impact Employment.)
— Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading