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An increasing number of women are applying for tech jobs — even those without STEM degrees — according to an analysis by Handshake, an online career community for college students.

The study is based on data provided by 100,000 women who applied for positions using the Handshake platform between June 1, 2018, and May 21, 2019.

“While women continue to be underrepresented across STEM majors, this does not inhibit a growing number from applying to engineering and developer roles,” Handshake says in a statement.

“The study revealed that over a third of applicants (35 per cent) to software engineering and developer roles majored in non-STEM-related subjects. Despite some women not having a STEM degree, over half of all women applicants for software positions listed on their resume technical expertise such as Java, Python, SQL, and Data Analysis.”

Over the past year, Handshake noted a:

  • 72 per cent increase in women applying for software developer and engineer roles;
  • 85 per cent increase in women applying for data scientist roles; and a
  • 227 per cent increase in women applying for data engineer positions.

“By no means have the challenges facing women entering the tech workforce disappeared, but this survey’s results suggest an encouraging trend with women remaining undeterred and persevering despite the obstacles,” Christine Cruzvergara, Vice President of Higher Education and Student Success at Handshake, said in a statement.

Not all women feel welcome in tech

The findings are encouraging, given the results of a recent survey of 760 Canadian women conducted by SAP Canada.

In it, nearly half (43 per cent) said they aren’t convinced that tech companies want to hire women and more than half (54 per cent) said tech companies have a “bad reputation” when it comes to gender and equality.

 Currently, women make up less than 20 percent of all tech jobs in the U.S., despite accounting for more than half of the country’s total workforce. 

If the results of the Handshake survey are indicative of an on-going trend, it could signify the tech sector is poised for a shift toward gender parity, provided the hiring companies are willing to do what it takes to support and retain female employees.

“CEO support is …crucial in attracting, retaining and promoting more marginalized groups in tech organizations,” HR Drive writes in an analysis of the Handshake study.

“Support from the top can send a message to the rank and file that barriers that keep out or discriminate are unacceptable.”