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Women in tech

A glimpse of what our speakers are presenting at the 2022 Human Insights Conference!

When we say ‘tech’, it’s likely that computers, electronics, IT, and software come to mind. As researchers and insights professionals, we may not think of ourselves as being in the tech industry, but it’s worth reconsidering. The technology industry is often described as those working in STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Science is the foundation of research; technology enables the way we conduct research, analyse results, and deliver insights; and mathematics is a fundamental part of quantitative research – our industry is very much within the tech sector.

As technology becomes a core part of everyday lives, more data is available, and work becomes more digitised, it has more of an influence on the respondents we conduct research with and the clients we conduct research for. As the scope of STEM is increases and becomes more rooted in what we do, many of us may find ourselves in roles that blur into the tech space. Some, like myself, who have built a career on traditional quantitative and qualitative research skills, are now in roles that require us to overlay this expertise with technical skills and capabilities, and to expand our abilities to liaise with developers and coders. We may be required to design and build dashboards that are accessible via SSO, develop skills in data visualization tools such as PowerBI or Tableu, know how to implement advanced techniques suchs as Conversational AI in surveys, establish API or SFTP connections for automatic transfer of data, have a basic understanding of coding languages – the list goes on.

These technical skills have historically been dominated by males. In Australia, the majority of those working in STEM occupations are male (87%), far outweighing females (13%) . Interestingly, there are differences in the gender balance in STEM occupations overall compared to the market research industry.

Unlike the tech industry, the market research industry in Australia is more balanced, with females comprising half the workforce . Gender equality as research roles become more senior is less balanced, but that’s a discussion for a different article. There are many resources available that outline the benefits of gender equality in the workforce and why it is important. For example, improved organisational performance and reputation, ability to attract and retain talent, increased national productivity, and economic growth.

While there are many positives to gender equality, these stats bring up some questions for consideration as research and insights roles increasingly require technological skills and capabilities:

  • How may this impact the gender balance in our industry?
  • How do we maintain the gender balance?
  • What are leading females in the research industry doing in the tech space?
  • Will we lose our top female talent to adjacent tech industries?
  • Do we need to recruit for different skills?

We will hear from some of the women leading the way in research technology (restech) in the ‘Pioneering Women in Tech’ breakout session on Day 2 of the National Conference. I look forward to seeing you there!

Committee member: Anna Truong, The Evolved Group

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The Research Society is the peak body for research, insights and analytics professionals in Australia. It has a diverse membership of individuals at all levels of experience and seniority within agencies, consultancies, client-side organisations, the non-profit and government sectors, support services as well as institutions and the academic community. As well as over 2,000 individual members, the Research Society has 125+ company and client partners, with the number continuing to grow. The Research Society research professionals and company partners commit to and are regulated by the Research Society Code of Professional Behaviour.