Tech PRose

February 9, 2011

2011 IT: The Year of the Woman?

Filed under: Dan Green,Technology Industry — techimage @ 11:47 am

Last week, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) Educational Foundation announced the formation of the Women in Information Technology Council.

In its press release, CompTIA included some interesting (and troubling) stats from the National Center for Women & IT:

  • Only 25 percent of IT-related jobs were filled by women in 2009 – a decrease from 36 percent in 1991.
  • In 2008, only 18 percent of computer and information science degrees were awarded to women – down from 37 percent in 1985.

Before seeing this data, I knew the industry had low representation among women, based on my work with the Society for Information Management, which organized SIM Women a few years ago to help women advance their careers in IT. What surprised me was that the number of women in the industry had declined so dramatically over the past 25 years.

The CompTIA Educational Foundation helps underserved portions of the population to start careers in IT – including military veterans, the disabled, youth at risk and dislocated workers, and the new council will help women in these demographic segments by providing an opportunity to obtain free education and training.

It’s a great move by the association to help attract more women to the male-dominated industry, and an important one. Baby boomers are starting to retire from the workforce, and the overall number of students pursuing IT degrees has declined significantly since the tech bust in the early 2000s. In the coming years there will be literally millions of job openings in the IT industry, and by welcoming more women into the IT work force, we can keep those jobs in the U.S.

Women interested in starting a career in IT can find more information from CompTIA’s Educational Foundation at www.comptia-ef.org. For women who are already in IT who want to advance their careers, check out SIM Women at http://www.simnet.org/?page=SIM_Women.

– By Dan Green

December 9, 2009

Gen BuY: Uncovering the mystery of Gen Y and its impact on the economy

Filed under: Dan Green,Reviews,Social Media — techimage @ 6:10 pm

This past month, I traveled to a conference in Seattle, giving me 8.5 hours of uninterrupted time to dig into a book that I have been anxious to read over the past month called “Gen BuY: How Teens, Tweens and Twenty-Somethings are Revolutionizing Retail.”

Gen BuY is a business book that targets corporate market executives to educate them on how to reach Generation Y – the 84-million-strong segment of the population born between 1978 and 2000 who have more purchasing power than any other generation preceding it. For any business leader who makes their living by selling to the consumer, this is a must read.

In Gen BuY, Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist with Golden Gate University and Jayne O’Donnell, retail and automotive reporter for USA Today, dissect Generation Y with regards to their shopping habits, the influence they have over their parents purchasing decisions and how they are changing the face of retail forever.

As a member of Generation X, what I found most fascinating about Gen BuY was the exploration of the relationship between parents and their Gen Y children, and how that has changed from previous generations.

When I was growing up, I had what I think you would consider a traditional relationship with my parents. They worked and I went to school, and then we came home, I’d take orders on what chores I had to do around the house and do my homework. After that, we’d eat dinner together – a dinner hand selected by my dad. A great cook, but I have always been a really picky eater, so if I didn’t like the main course, I’d eat whatever bread was served with dinner, and some of the side dishes, like potatoes, and maybe carrots, if I was in the mood for them.

What I didn’t do was dictate what was for dinner. Sure, I’d ask for something I’d like, but when your battling with nine other kids (hey, I’m a Roman Catholic Italian-Irishman, what can I say?), your voice sort of gets lost. And, I don’t think this was exclusive to me, this was prevalent at all of my friends’ homes as well.

But, somewhere along the line, things have changed. Members of Generation Y are not order takers – they are more like partners with their parents. Not only are they deciding what’s for dinner, but they also help their parents to make decisions on what to buy for the home (a Sony Bravia or a Vizio HDTV), which home they should buy (it has to have a rec room for them and their friends), and they even help their parents with their clothing options (mom can’t be dressed too young or too “frumpy”).

When I was growing up, I never told my mom or dad how to dress, what TV to buy (a 1974 Zenith that lasted until 1987, when my brother bought them a new one), or where to live (we moved 10 times from the time I was born until the time I left for college). I was a silent partner, an order taker, and I was fine with that – that was my role.

And, that’s what makes this book so interesting – not only for retailers but for parents as well – how the parent-child relationship has changed over the last decade, and the impact of that change.

Having worked in the boating industry in the past, I think that marketing executives working for any boat manufacturer need to read Gen BuY to see how much things have changed. Sales in the boating industry tumbled dramatically over the past two years, while attendance at boat shows across the country has dropped anywhere from 30%-50%.

When I worked in PR at one of the national boating trade associations, I heard countless times that sales people and marketing efforts had to reach out to women – since wives were the primary influencers for major purchases in the home. Based on what I read in Gen BuY, that mindset has to change. The boating industry needs to bring the fun of boating and fishing to Gen Y. Not only are they gaining influence among their parents, but as stated, Gen Y has more purchasing power than any generation before it – Gen BuY gives the reader the keys to reaching this audience.

Reading this book as a parent, and a member of Generation X, I was fascinated by the discussion in Gen BuY on how kids and their parents are becoming more like partners, rather than following the traditional parent-child relationship. The discussion on how much kids use social media, how they are using it and why they feel so connected to their social media outlets and with people they have met through social media (but never in person) also uncovered things I never thought about. I think other parents who read this book will gain a greater understanding of their kids and how their use of technology can actually help the family to become a stronger unit.

–Reviewed by Dan Green

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