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Women leaders in tech industries are ahead of men in the use of GenAI

In its latest research, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) sought to find out the proportion of women and men who are adopting applications based on Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI).

Női vezetők egyengetik az utat a GenAI-ban-

In the early days, new technologies were traditionally used more by men than women. The proportion of women using new technologies is below 40%, according to a YouGov survey in 2020. If the adoption of GenAI follows a similar trend, there is a risk that the gender imbalance in the technology sector - where less than 30% of middle and senior managers globally are currently women - could widen further.

BBCG's research "Women leaders paving the way in GenAI", however, suggests that women are as likely or more likely than men to adopt GenAI-based applications.

There is a wide variation in the use of GenAI by job level, job function, and age

The survey showed that 68% of women working in the technology sector use GenAI tools at work more than once a week, compared to 66% of men. What's more, senior women in technical fields (engineering, IT, customer service, sales and marketing) outpace their male counterparts in GenAI use by 14 percentage points.

Compared to men, women in senior management positions are similarly or more aware of the potential positive impact of GenAI on their work - but young women are less likely to believe this. However, female senior managers in non-technical fields lag behind men in their use of GenAI by 2 percentage points, and women in lower positions by 5-12 percentage points. "Among older, non-technical women, the lack of confidence in their ability to cope with new technology is the reason for the lag," said Mária Pálinkás, partner at BCG.

For young women in tech roles, the gap is 7 percentage points, which could exacerbate the gender imbalance that already exists in many tech companies. "This gap may be due, according to BCG, to the fact that young women have less access than young men to the company networks and meetings where GenAI strategy is being developed and are less involved in initial GenAI programs," added Mária Pálinkás.

Older women reported equal or greater risk tolerance in technical and non-technical functions than men and younger female colleagues, which the analysis suggests is due to life course evolution. Older women, having already overcome many obstacles to reach their current position, have developed the risk-taking capacity that is essential for success. In contrast, young women in technical roles often feel less free to experiment, especially with emerging technologies, because they have less experience and authority.

The gender gap can be reduced

GenAI offers a unique opportunity to close the gender gap, but this requires proactive steps from companies and the women they employ," Pálinkás said. "In addition to seniority, women's age, role in the company and life experience are factors that companies need to consider when adopting and using GenAI," he added.

Companies that are ready to use GenAI can use this new tool to close the gender gap, according to BCG. Leadership advocacy and change management, targeted training programmes, robust planning and responsible AI policies, and proactive career management can help.

About the research: The study, "Women Leaders Paving the Way in GenAI," draws on data from a BCG survey of more than 6,500 female and male employees in Germany, India, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. These participants worked at four entry levels and in eight functions within the technology industry.

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