Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Feb 13, 2019

Untapped Pool or Leaky Pipeline?

February 13, 2019

Female Involvement in the ICT Sector

There are fewer women than men in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professions in Canada. What drives this trend? Why is this a policy problem, and what can be done to address it? This report, the first from the Research Initiative on Education and Skills (RIES), tackles these topics.

ICT professions are at the heart of the digital economy. As a result, there is a growing demand for ICT professionals to fill what can often be well-paid positions. The underrepresentation of women in the field reduces the pool of qualified workers, and results in the economic gains of ICT careers flowing disproportionately to men.

Analyzing data from the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), we find that a gender gap in the ICT field persists regardless of how broadly or narrowly the field is defined. This gap is driven less by technically-trained women foregoing ICT careers and more by young women choosing not to pursue training leading to ICT occupations. This gap is larger in the private sector than in the public sector. Notably, men and women have similar ICT aptitudes and, once in the field, perform largely the same tasks – a finding that serves to bust stereotypes about ICT fields being more suited for men.

Combining this quantitative analysis with a scan of available policy research, we discuss how governments can do more to encourage young women to choose ICT careers.

View PDF



Brad Seward
Khuong Truong
Deepti Kapadia

Release Date

February 13, 2019



Mowat Research

No. 183


Research Initiative on Education + Skills

The Research Initiative on Education and Skills is an innovative collaborative policy research initiative led by the Mowat Centre and the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. Its purpose is to access, analyze and mobilize data relating to the education, skills and labour market outcomes of Canadians, and to disseminate the findings to inform policy development.

Related Reading