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Does the “Women in Tech Problem” Only Exist in Silicon Valley?

gear-67138_640For Silicon Valley women struggling to get ahead, the answer might be a change of location.

If you’d asked tech leaders in Silicon Valley about women in technology 10 years ago (or maybe even five), the response probably would have been, “We know there are some women around here, but I really don’t know who they are.” And if you got more specific—asking about women programmers, coders, or engineers—you’d have been even harder-pressed to find them.

A lot has changed since then. There are plenty of women in successful Silicon Valley tech jobs, just not so many at the top. When asked about the lack of female entrepreneurs and executives in what has been the hotbed of technological innovation for decades, Silicon Valley experts point to a lack of women with STEM education.

That’s a convenient answer, but other cities with large tech companies don’t seem to have the same problem.

The Best Cities for Women in Technology

The perception that women in tech exist in large numbers only in Silicon Valley is way off. There are far more women working in these jobs in New York, and there are several U.S. cities where women techies get paid more than their male counterparts.

What are the best cities for women in technology, both in terms of job opportunities and pay? Kimberly Weisul, editor-at-large for Inc.com, answers this question in her article, “Why the ‘Women in Tech’ Problem May Actually Be a Silicon Valley Problem.”

Here are some highlights:

The best city for women in tech, according to [new research from SmartAsset], is Washington D.C. In the nation’s capital, about 37 percent of tech jobs are filled by women–compared to a national average of about 25 percent–and women in tech, on average, earn 93.3 percent of what men do. Perhaps that’s not hugely surprising, given that the Inc 5000 showed Washington, D.C., to be the best city for women entrepreneurs.

In the second-ranked city, Kansas City, Missouri, women make up about 33 percent of the tech workforce and on average make 106.6 percent of what the guys do. Women in tech out-earn the men in Arlington, Texas, too, and by a hefty margin: 107.4 percent. Arlington is ranked 15th on the SmartAsset list.

So what is going on in Silicon Valley, the supposed tech epicenter of the U.S.? In San Jose, which ranks 11th, women make up only 23 percent of the tech workforce and make 86.4 percent of what men do. In San Francisco, California, 21 percent of the tech workforce is female and women earn about 88 percent of what the guys do. That means the highest-ranked city in California, with an impressive third-place finish, is Fremont, where women in tech get paid 86.7 percent of what men do.

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For more on the best cities for women in tech, read the rest of Weisul’s article.

What This Means for Women in Tech Sales

I’m sure there are a million explanations for these disparities, and for the fact that Silicon Valley and San Francisco both ranked relatively poorly in the study. Some of these explanations might even be totally reasonable and legitimate. But do we really have to move to Kansas City?

I think not. As women in tech sales, we must continue to sharpen our skills, take some calculated risks, and toot our own horns. No one else will. Let’s get recognized for our technical expertise, as well as our incredible ability to build solid, long-lasting relationships.

According to Xactly Insights Gender Study of Sales, women in sales outperform their male counterparts in:

  • Loyalty (staying in their roles for nearly one year longer than men)
  • Quota attainment (70% vs. 67%)
  • Overall leadership effectiveness (55% vs. 52%)
  • Leadership effectiveness in sales (67% vs. 63%)

No, you don’t have to move to another city. Just recognize and acknowledge the perceptions that exist, focus on your goals, and do your job—just like you’ve always done it. You go, girl!

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