IT industry issues call for those with Tech Talent to create gender-diverse workforce


In West Michigan, women hold only 1 in 4 computing jobs. 

Fortunately, there is opportunity for women in the growing field. 

“West Michigan needs more Tech Talent,” says Anne Pentiak, industry council lead for West Michigan Works! “There is a wealth of female talent in our region and, no matter how you look at it, a more gender-diverse workforce is better for business, especially in tech. We have a long way to go before we reach gender equality at the core of the tech industry.”

West Michigan Tech Talent and Hello West Michigan will host IT’s Happening West Michigan, a free virtual networking event for information technology (IT) professionals, on Thursday, March 25, from 3-5 p.m. 

The event is open to everyone with an interest in IT.

One-on-one networking

During the event, IT professionals and job seekers will have the chance to network one-to-one with local employers. West Michigan Tech Talent is an industry talent council convened by West Michigan Works! focused on creating a diverse and qualified IT workforce in our region. 

Currently, 26 IT positions are included in the 2021 West Michigan Works! Hot Jobs list, an annual report that showcases the fastest-growing and most in-demand jobs. The median wage for mid-career IT professionals in these positions ranges from $27 to $63 per hour.
 
To be included on the Hot Jobs lists, occupations must show a regional average growth rate of at least 9% over 10 years, annual openings above industry averages, and median wages at or above $13.75. 

Making IT more inclusive

According to Jessa Challa, software engineer and principal community liaison at the Grand Rapids software firm Mallowfields, it’s important for women to be intentional about considering a career in IT.

“By making space for those not usually seen in this industry, we have the power to position tech to be more inclusive, more equitable, more for everybody,” she says. 

To learn more about West Michigan’s IT industry and register for the IT’s Happening West Michigan networking event, visit WestMiWorks.org/industry-spotlights.

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.