Study Finds Women Are The Ones Bringing Tech To The Boardroom

Women working on boards typically have more tech experience than men

Illustration: Diana Quach
Sep 01, 2016 at 9:57 AM ET

The fact that women are underrepresented in most corporate boardrooms isn’t news, but new research looking at the few who do get a seat at the table shows how qualified they tend to be in comparison with their male counterparts. (Hint: a LOT more)

A new study from Accenture looked at corporate board members serving on over 500 companies pulled from Forbes Global 2000 and found that women were nearly twice as likely to have a professional tech background than their male counterparts.

Tech savvy is one of many factors that go into selecting for positions of corporate prominence, but it is one that will dramatically increase in importance over time. And women are ahead of their peers.

“As technology disrupts virtually every industry, companies need to think more broadly about the type of skills and experience needed for their boards, including getting more technology acumen into the boardroom,” Accenture chief marketing and communications officer Roxanne Taylor told Fortune in a statement.

Interestingly, tech experience at c-suite level was pretty low on the whole: only 10 percent of all board members had professional experience in a key tech position, such as chief technology officer, chief information officer, or chief digital officer. On boards within the tech industry, the figure was higher, naturally, with 51 percent of women and 37 percent of men having worked in such positions.

Boards in the U.S. featured higher percentages of members with tech experience than the worldwide average but remained consistent with global trends on gender balance — women bring greater tech chops to the table. Canada was the only country where male board members had more professional tech experience than female board members.

The report indicates that women — who fill only 18 percent of board positions at Fortune 1000 companies according to 2020 Women On Boards — may be held to higher standards of tech experience within the selection process. While women remain underrepresented in the tech industry in general and face significant gender-specific obstacles breaking into careers in STEM, the fact that they’re bringing more tech experience to the boardroom may also be a sign of the narrowing gender gap associated with digital fluency.