Female CIOs predicting bigger IT budget increases than male tech chiefs

Female CIOs are more likely to work with a chief digital officer but the number of female IT chiefs doesn't seem to be growing.
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

Female CIOs expect to see their IT budget increase by 2.5 percent in the coming year while male CIOs only expect a 0.2 percent increase.

The research by analysts Gartner surveyed 2,339 CIOs — 13 percent of which were women. It said that while female CIOs expected a significantly greater budget increase in their organisation than their male counterparts, slightly less of that IT budget is spent by the IT department. This is perhaps because there is a slightly higher incidence of chief digital officers (CDOs) in companies where female CIOs are present and this may account for the increase in budget overall, with a slightly larger percentage of female CIOs' IT budgets being outside of the IT department.

Around nine percent of female work with a CDO compared to six percent of male CIOs. Some 25 percent of CDOs are women.

While Gartner admits that the role of CDO has some way to go before it reaches the stage of mature acceptance it will be an important trend for the future. The higher percentage of women CDOs "may be an early indicator of women's affinity for the role or of some difference in the backgrounds of male and female executives", Gartner suggests and it believes this "may bear further study and examination".

When comparing the survey results on digital leadership, female CIOs were slightly more confident about their enterprise's ability to deal with the wave of digital opportunities. The survey found that 49 per cent of female CIOs are concerned that the digital torrent is coming faster than they can cope, while slightly more male CIOs 51 per cent, shared this concern.

To Gartner vice-president Tina Nunno, the data was "encouraging" in that it showed many positive similarities between women and men in the CIO role.

"They share similar reporting lines, priorities and technical challenges in the organisation," Nunno said. "This is good news, and boards and CEOs should have confidence that gender is simply not an issue relative to strategic focus."

But the proportion of female CIOs has remained largely static since 2004, when Gartner first analysed the CIO Agenda survey data by gender, according to Nunno. "It is disappointing that the overall percentage of women in the role has not grown significantly in the last 10 years," she said.

In terms of their technology priorities, female and male CIOs are more similar than they are different, Gartner said. "The top three priorities for both genders were identical in sequence: business intelligence/analytics, followed by infrastructure and data centre, with mobile in third position."

Cloud ranked slightly higher for women than it did for men, who placed ERP systems in fourth position and cloud in fifth.

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