How digital skills are narrowing the gender gap

by L&D11 Mar 2016

Women who are using digital technologies to become more knowledgeable, connected and effective, are playing a key role in narrowing the workplace gender gap, according to new research by Accenture. 

Indeed, the report, Getting to Equal: How Digital is Helping Close the Gender Gap at Work, provides empirical evidence that women are using digital skills to gain an edge in preparing for work, finding work and advancing at work.

“Although gender equality will not happen overnight, investments made in building women’s digital skills — through education, training and on-the-job learning — will help speed their progress at every career stage,” said Jordan Griffiths, Accenture Australia Inclusion & Diversity Lead.

“There are many ways to narrow the gender gap in the workplace, but digital is a particularly powerful avenue.”

The report found that if governments and businesses can double the pace at which women become digitally fluent, gender equality could be achieved in 25 years in developed nations, compared to 50 years at the current pace.

Pierre Nanterme, Accenture’s chairman and chief executive officer, added that women represent an untapped talent pool that can help fill the gap between the skills needed to stay competitive and the talent that’s available.

“There is a clear opportunity for governments and businesses to collaborate on efforts that will empower more women with digital skills – and accelerate gender equality in the workforce,’ he said.

The research also found that Australia is the third most digitally fluent country among  the countries that were looked at.

It is also the top country when it comes to education – Australian women did much better than men in using digital to secure and improve educational opportunities. Australia ranks second when it comes to digital’s influence on women’s advancement at work. Indeed, only the United States had a higher score for women’s advancement.

Despite digital fluency helping women advance in their careers, its impact has not closed the gender gap among executives, or extended to pay equality. Men are still the dominant earners by household for all three generations.

However, this is likely to change as more millennial women and digital natives move into management. The research found that in Australia, 38% of millennial and gen X women surveyed aspire to be in leadership positions.