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The Percentage of Women That Occupy Computer and IT Fields

October 30, 2013 by Joshua Wright

compcircle3This summer we wrote about the 11% drop over the last decade in the number of computer and information science degrees awarded by U.S. education institutions. Well, it turns out, the share of females earning bachelor’s degrees in computer and IT has also declined, from 29% in 1990-91 to just 18% in 2010-2011.

That’s from Catherine Rampell’s recent column in The New York Times. Rampell wrote about the public-image problem with computer science fields and efforts to encourage young women (and young men) to pursue computer science degrees. In addition to citing statistics on the percentage of females completing computer and IT degrees, she also noted that just a quarter of all Americans working in computer occupations are women.

Computer occupations is a high-level category from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so we used EMSI’s workforce demographic data to get the male/female breakdown for detailed computer and IT fields.

Of the 14 occupations we looked at, database administrators has the highest share of females among those currently employed; 39% of workers in this IT field — about 45,000 in all — are women. (Note that we only included standard wage-and-salary employees in this analysis, not the self-employed or extended proprietors.)

The miscellaneous “computer occupations, all other” has the highest share of females for a computer field, at 37%. And computer user support specialists and computer systems analysts are next, at 34%.

Overall, 28% of jobs in these 14 occupations are occupied by females.


Among computers fields below the 28% average, applications and systems software developers — the two computers occupations with the most job growth in recent years — have the lowest share of women. Applications developers are 22% female; systems developers are at 21%.

In general, EMSI data shows that IT-focused professions tend to have a higher share of women than computer science-oriented occupations. In other words, women are more likely to work on databases and network systems for companies than write code.

Data shown in this post comes from Analyst, EMSI’s web-based labor market data and analysis tool. To look at the male/female or age breakdown by occupation in your region or for more information on EMSI, contact Josh Wright (jwright@economicmodeling.com). Follow Wright on Twitter (@ByJoshWright) and EMSI (@DesktopEcon)

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