Promotions for Women in the Tech Industry

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 24
Words: 3165
Reading time:
13 min
Study level: Undergraduate


Methods of Data Collection

The data collection methods include analysis of documents, government publications, and records from official UK datasets and data from previous studies. The gender pay gap in the UK 2021 dataset provided by the Office for National Statistics (2021) will be used to investigate the glass ceiling effect. Essentially, secondary data analysis examines data obtained by someone else for another main reason. According to Ruggiano and Perry (2017), secondary data analysis refers to studies in which data obtained for prior research is evaluated, either by the same or by different researchers, to investigate new questions or employ different analytical methodologies that were not used in the initial analysis. Ruggiano and Perry (2019) state that pre-existing data provides a reliable option for researchers with limited time and resources. Scholars have also advocated for the practice of sharing information for secondary data analysis, claiming that it may address questions for future research while simultaneously increasing sample sizes and levels of precision (Ruggiano and Perry, 2019). Secondary data analysis is an empirical activity that follows the same basic research principles as investigations that use primary data and involves the same stages as any other research approach.

The data gathering process should begin with studying what is currently known and what needs to be discovered about a topic by analyzing secondary sources and prior research in the selected area of interest. Secondary data can be found in print and digital format. For instance, digital data can be extracted from an online computer database or the Internet (Emerald Publishing, n.d.). Additionally, secondary data can refer to statistics gathered by governments, trade groups, and organizations that collect and sell statistical data or plain papers in archives or firm documents. Additionally, the secondary data collection method begins with developing research questions, identifying the dataset, and thoroughly evaluating the dataset sources (Emerald Publishing, n.d.). The key to secondary data collection is to use theoretical knowledge and conceptual competence to utilize existing data and answer research questions.

The research purpose is to analyze the glass ceiling effect in promotions for women in the tech industry. The fundamental question is how the glass ceiling impacts women, particularly in the technology sector. Essentially, the literature was initially identified using the databases’ Scopus’ and ‘ScienceDirect.’ Search terms included ‘the glass ceiling effect,’ ‘women promotions,’ ‘the glass ceiling in the tech industry,’ ‘statistics in the tech industry in the UK,’ ‘women in technology,’ ‘gender bias in the tech industry,’ and ‘appraisal system and the glass ceiling.’ For the systematic review, relevant literature should mainly consist of focused empirical investigations reported in peer-reviewed journals. Moreover, the journal papers’ publication dates should be no more than five years old, specifically between 2017 and 2022.

The abstracts were checked to ensure that papers that met the search parameters were included. For instance, Babic and Hansez (2021), Domínguez et al. (2019), Heilman and Caleo (2018), Kulik and Rae (2019), Salahuddin et al. (2021), and Yu (2018) covered a wide range of empirical investigations regarding the glass ceiling effect. The research also contains data drawn from online publications and official reports. Citations from reputable sources, and recent news articles published by respected periodicals, were included in the research.

Methods of Data Analysis

The national statistics obtained from the latest release of the gender pay gap were analyzed. Recent research and conclusions from peer-reviewed publications were discovered and examined. The evaluation processes outlined below were performed to establish the sources’ proper fit to a research inquiry and assure congruency, preliminary study’s quality, and the generated dataset (Sandström, 2018). Firstly, the study’s goal of selected sources was examined. It was critical to determine who was in charge of gathering the information. The next stage was to define what information was gathered and when and how the data was obtained. Lastly, the researcher analyzed how consistent the information received from one source is with information collected from other sources. Consequently, the research presents the investigation of the glass ceiling effect in promotions for women, statistics, and results based on the glass ceiling in the UK, the tech industry in particular, and ultimately provides conclusions and recommendations.

Credibility and Reliability

The sources were extracted from credible databases to provide a higher level of reliability. Data reliability is the degree to which sampled research results are constant over time and the accuracy with which the overall population under investigation is represented (Olabode et al., 2019). If the findings of a study can be replicated using a comparative approach, the research instrument is deemed trustworthy. According to Olabode et al. (2019), reliability may be defined as the consistency of independent measurements of the same phenomena to generate the same result when applied to the same object again. The amount to which secondary data corresponds to the research question is essential for any research methodology.

A key consideration with secondary data is how it connects to the study topic. As a result, before proceeding, the appropriateness of the sources was assessed (Emerald Publishing, n.d.). The degree to which a concept, conclusion, or assessment is well established and correlates to reality is referred to as validity (Sandström, 2018). The research aims to evaluate the glass ceiling effect in the tech business in the UK; thus, sources with accurate and up-to-date information on the subject were examined to ensure validity. The study did not rely on internet sources whose validity could not be verified.

Investigation, Results, and Interpretation

Investigation of the Glass Ceiling Effect in Promotions for Women

Despite central encouragement of diversity and inclusion in businesses and regulations for equal opportunities for men and women, it is essential to mention that women continue to be primarily in the minority in decision-making positions. Babic and Hansez (2021) illustrate the glass ceiling concept, which is vertical discrimination against women within firms. The term ‘glass ceiling’ in promotions for women refers to the notion that a competent individual wishing to progress within the organizational hierarchy is halted at a lower level (Babic and Hansez, 2021). The glass ceiling occurs because of prejudice, most commonly based on sexism and racism.

In the workplace, men and women are frequently treated differently. These disparities occur when employment choices are based on gender and an assigned trait rather than an individual’s credentials or work performance (Babic and Hansez, 2021). Thus, the glass ceiling corresponds to discriminatory hurdles that hinder women from ascending to leadership roles or moving to higher positions within an organization merely because they are female (Salahuddin et al., 2021). Gender interactions in society create the way for dealing with women.

For instance, males in positions of power may enact gender-biased policies that affect women and establish institutional barriers. Salahuddin et al. (2021) note that the glass ceiling draws attention to the feminine characteristics of women, such as lovingness, attentiveness, and compassion. Heilman and Caleo (2018) claim that gender stereotypes portray women as collaborative and helpful, whereas males are forceful and autonomous. Furthermore, the glass ceiling causes non-confirmatory responses from subordinates and coworkers; they may regard women as less efficient and knowledgeable (Salahuddin et al., 2021). Domínguez et al. (2019) suppose that if women perceive they are being rejected from top positions due to a lack of international experience, they will strive to find such an opportunity for themselves. In other words, a lack of women in international missions may lead to their resignation from the company (Domínguez et al., 2019). A lack of female candidates may result in a loss of trust in their competence to manage an international business.

Gender stereotypes may push women toward female-dominated jobs and lead to assumptions that males are better suited to leadership responsibilities. Kulik and Rae (2019) underline that women reap fewer rewards despite investing more time and energy in cultivating human capital than their male counterparts. Education has a lower impact on women’s management progression than it does on men’s; the number of years of work experience and business longevity have a more significant effect on men’s position level than on women’s (Kulik and Rae, 2019). According to Risse (2018), women have the equivalent of up to one and a half years of additional education and nearly a full year of supplemental employment experience than is demanded in their position. Kulik and Rae (2019) argue that the glass ceiling depicts unequal effects since it emerges from a mismatch between a decision maker’s gender norms and management job requirements. Because the psychological link between males and leadership is strong, men are drawn into leadership positions regardless of industry or professional content (Kulik and Rae, 2019). Hence, women are particularly vulnerable to the glass ceiling, while men are not.

Formal organizational procedures might also block women’s ascent to high management positions. Yu (2018) claims that performance appraisals reported by a supervisor using a company’s performance assessment system frequently influence promotions. Thus, given that executive positions are predominantly male-dominated, the performance assessment system may be rife with institutional sexism and proceed to disfavor women. Additionally, the gender gap fosters the glass ceiling in the workplace. Ferraris (2022) states that in the UK, the gender wage gap reduced between 1997, when official records commenced, and 2021. Despite significant improvements, many women still encounter glass ceilings in the workplace (Ferraris, 2022). Research reveals that women improve the workplace because they increase corporate governance and financial results and generate better outcomes amid a crisis (Ferraris, 2022). Significantly, gender variety is crucial because women are not the same as men; various qualities, thoughts, and perspectives lead to better results by preventing confirmation bias.

The gender gap in the UK
Figure 1. The gender gap in the UK (Office for National Statistics, 2021).

Notably, the gender pay gap in the UK has been gradually narrowing over time, decreasing by around a quarter in the previous decade (see Figure 1). According to the Office for National Statistics (2021), the gender pay gap among full-time employees was 7.9 percent in April 2021, continuing the decreasing trend; it was 7.0 percent in April 2020 and 9.0 percent in April 2019. Nonetheless, there is a significant gender pay discrepancy between employees over the age of forty and those under forty. The managers, directors, and senior officials’ occupation category has seen the greatest reduction in the gender pay gap since the pre-pandemic April 2019 number, particularly for those aged fifty and higher.

The gender wage disparity in median gross hourly earnings varies significantly by area. It is higher in every region of England than in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales (see Figure 2). The statistics showed a substantially different pattern from 1997 when the gender wage gap was equal throughout the UK’s regions. Moreover, London distinguishes itself as the only location where the gender wage gap has remained nearly unchanged since 1997.

The gender pay gap is greater in all English regions compared to Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland
Figure 2. The gender pay gap is greater in all English regions compared to Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland (Office for National Statistics, 2021).

Employers lose talent due to the gender gap, and the economy suffers the consequences. Although paying men and women the same wage for the same work has been a legal obligation in the UK for over fifty years, the numbers indicate that this is still a substantial issue for companies (In Professional Development, 2019). Based on the Economist’s 2019 Glass-Ceiling Index, despite increased attention to the gender pay gap, the MeToo movement, and demands for better employment prospects for women, progress for women has halted (In Professional Development, 2019). Qian et al. (2020) acknowledge that women were awarded voting rights a hundred years ago; the gender pay disparity persists within organizations based on discrimination against women fifty years later. According to research by the Fawcett Society, around one-third of employees are unaware of their rights, which states that being paid unevenly based on gender is forbidden under the Equality Act (Qian et al., 2020). This bias is masked by a culture of pay secrecy, which feeds the system’s pay inequity, despite employees’ legal freedom to share their income with their coworkers. Furthermore, males outnumber women in the highest-paying jobs in the UK.

Consequently, the persistence of gender disparities and uneven pay has remained a fundamental gender prejudice in women’s professional promotion. Another critical factor affecting the glass ceiling effect in promotions for women is a lack of role models. Domínguez et al. (2019) acknowledge that mentoring arrangements are less common for women, although they are more vital for them than for their male counterparts. Mentorship has been a repeating characteristic typically related to job progression to overcome the masculine culture and lack of women at the top managerial levels (Yu, 2018). Because there are fewer women in management roles, women are less likely than men to have a mentor of their gender, which is a crucial component in navigating a woman’s professional path. Essentially, female mentors frequently incorporate gender-related factors as part of the learning process (Yu, 2018). Successful models of female success and female mentors, in essence, might boost female self-perception of success (Domínguez et al., 2019). Thus, businesses may use organizational support to foster positive behaviors that increase female presence.

Results: Glass Ceiling in Tech Industry

When it comes to recruiting female employees, the tech industry remains behind the rest of the employment market. The statistics prove that only twenty-three percent of people working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) occupations in the UK are female; women hold only five percent of senior positions in the technology industry (PwC UK Research Report, 2017). The future pipeline of IT talent in the United Kingdom is significantly skewed toward men. Despite having school achievements that are on pace with or better than those of boys, girls still lack the confidence to seek high-paying occupations in science and technology (PwC UK Research Report, 2017). Additionally, there is a crucial gender pay gap in the UK. When considering IT business analysts, architects, and system designers, women earn 16.4 percent less than men (Office for National Statistics, 2021). Women, for example, earn £21.23 per hour, whereas male specialists get £25.38 per hour. Female IT user support technicians make 16.1% less than males, with women earning £13.19 per hour and men being paid £15.73 per hour (See Figure 4).

The gender pay gap in the UK by occupation
Figure 3. The gender pay gap in the UK by occupation (Office for National Statistics, 2021).

Another effect of the gender gap is that it prevents women from fully participating in defining society’s future. In the United Kingdom, all businesses of a particular size are compelled to report data on the gender wage gap mean and median average within one year (McDonald, 2019). Women avoid the technology business for various reasons, including a lack of prominent and accessible role models, as well as misconceptions about technology occupations and who is better suited to employment (McDonald, 2019). Essentially, female employees would benefit from professional counseling or mentorship to succeed in their jobs; nevertheless, businesses should focus more on supporting female career pathways.


The findings demonstrate that men dominate the tech industry, and many female employees face a glass ceiling due to gender prejudice and the pay gap. Companies should develop an environment favorable to women succeeding in IT to mitigate the glass ceiling effects in promotions. Eliminating misconceptions about women as well as redesigning performance appraisal processes is critical. Firms should provide female employees the opportunity to meet, collaborate with, and be mentored by experts in the industry. According to findings, women with other women as mentors, peer networks, and social ties are more likely to prosper and grow in their IT employment. Taking positive steps to assist women in connecting with and engaging with these resources will directly influence company satisfaction and retention.

Performance appraisals usually influence women’s advancements at work. It was established that the performance evaluation system may be riddled with institutional sexism and therefore discriminate against women. Furthermore, prejudiced and biased gender norms and expectations limit women’s advancement. According to research on the glass ceiling, institutional and socio-psychological barriers have delayed women’s development into upper-level management jobs. Unfortunately, the tech industry remains behind the rest of the labor market when it comes to attracting female employees. Essentially, women in the tech business suffer obstacles due to gender preconceptions.

Final Conclusions and Recommendations

When employers make decisions based on gender and an ascribed attribute rather than an individual’s credentials or job performance, the glass ceiling affects women and their company promotions. The glass ceiling concept alludes to vertical discrimination against women among corporations. Significantly, the phenomenon influences women’s promotions when employers judge based on gender and a given attribute rather than an individual’s qualifications or job performance. The glass ceiling is a critical issue because, even though women outperform men in education and employment, there is a considerable income imbalance between them.

Gender bias shows women as cooperative and supportive, whereas men are assertive and self-sufficient. As a result, preconceptions may force women into female-dominated industries and contribute to the belief that male employees are better suited to leadership roles. Subordinates and colleagues may have non-confirmatory answers due to the glass ceiling, and they may consider women less competent than males. The research findings show that education has a weaker influence on women’s management promotion than men’s; the number of years of work experience has a more substantial impact on men’s management position level in organizations than women’s.

Despite the remarkable progress of anti-discrimination policies in the UK, many women continue to face glass ceilings in the workplace. As a result of the gender gap, employers lose talent, and the business suffers the consequences. According to the findings, one-third of employees are uninformed of their rights, which indicates that unequal pay based on gender is prohibited. Males outweigh females in the highest-paying jobs in the United Kingdom. Thus, the continuance of gender discrepancies and inequities in pay has remained a fundamental gender bias in women’s professional advancement. Another crucial aspect influencing the glass ceiling effect in female promotions is a shortage of role models. According to statistics, only twenty-three percent of those working in STEM careers in the UK are female. Women are less likely than male employees to have a mentor of their gender, which is an essential component in managing a woman’s career path, due to a shortage of female employees in leadership roles.

Successfully established female role models and effective mentorship will boost female self-perception of success, attract more women to the IT industry, and increase the number of promotions. Businesses could also employ organizational support to encourage good behaviors that encourage female engagement. In terms of promotion, preconceptions about the IT field tend to favor men, while women advance more slowly. Thus, company executives must create a zero-tolerance environment for gender discrimination. It is recommended to organize training, discuss the problem, its effects, and strategies to prevent it, and assess women equally with men for their performance contribution. To summarize, a glass ceiling is a critical obstacle that restricts women from progressing over a particular level in a corporate hierarchy; the issue should be addressed to encourage diversity, equality, and inclusion in businesses.

Reference List

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