Women facing lay-offs as ‘tech bros’ beat culls


Women disproportionately hit by Silicon Valley lay-offs as ‘tech bros’ survive the culls

  • Over 44% of 250,898 people laid off between October and March were female 
  • Campaigners say the gender imbalance is largely driven by a ‘tech bro culture’ 

Women have been disproportionately hit by Silicon Valley lay-offs as ‘tech bros’ survive the culls.

More than 44 per cent of the 250,898 people laid off between October and March were female, analysis from online job tracker Layoffs.fyi revealed.

This is notable, given that women made up just 33 per cent of the global tech workforce in 2022. Some of the world’s largest firms, including Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook owner Meta, have sacked staff in their masses to drive down costs.

But campaigners say the gender imbalance is largely driven by a ‘tech bro culture’ –built on a system of hyper-masculine traits, where leaders pride themselves on having attended the same universities and networking with similar people. The ‘bros’ are also known for being overworked and lacking in social skills.

‘Women are made to believe that they are imposters and so not a part of the system, community or network and, therefore, unable to access the same opportunities,’ said Sonya Barlow, at social enterprise Like Minded Female Network.

Hit hard: More than 44 per cent of the 250,898 people laid off between October and March were female

Hit hard: More than 44 per cent of the 250,898 people laid off between October and March were female

‘The tech bro culture does exist and the only way to create change is to change things, not temporarily throw money or use tick-box activities expecting different results.’

According to careers expert Zippia, only 15 per cent of tech chief executives are female, and women make up just 26 per cent of the computer and mathematical sciences staff. Only 16 per cent are in engineering.

‘Women tend not to be on the front-line income-generating roles and, therefore, are always first to be ousted,’ said Gwen Rhys, at campaign group Women in the City, explaining the prevalence of marketing, human resources and recruitment in job cuts. 

‘Women are more likely to work part-time, expect to work from home more and are therefore less visible in the workplace. It is men looking out for each other.’

Neveen Awad, partner at Boston Consulting Group, said it was middle managers who were hit most severely.

But some staff have pushed back. Former Twitter employees filed a lawsuit against the social media firm after it laid off 57 per cent of its female staff, compared with 47 per cent of men –days after Elon Musk bought it in October. Twitter has denied wrongdoing.

Alesha De-Freitas, head of policy at feminist group the Fawcett Society, said: ‘The underrepresentation of women in tech not only locks women out of some of the highest-paying jobs in our society, but also means that some of the biggest issues facing society today – from the tools that we use to create our work and art, to AI, to online safety – are shaped disproportionately by men and their needs,’ she said.

Layoffs.fyi analysis suggests more than 201,000 people have been laid off in 2023.



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