Report: Less than 1 in 5 Fortune 500 companies have a female CIO. In NJ, just 1 in 7

Gabrielle Saulsbery//September 28, 2021//

Report: Less than 1 in 5 Fortune 500 companies have a female CIO. In NJ, just 1 in 7

Gabrielle Saulsbery//September 28, 2021//

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Less than 1 in 5 chief information officers at Fortune 500 companies are women, according to a report released this month by cloud talent firm Revolent.

Of the 28 companies to make the list in New Jersey, four have female CIOs: Stacey Goodman has been at Prudential Financial since 2019; Gabrielle Wolfson has been at Quest Diagnostics since 2019; Wafaa Momilli has been at Zoetis since 2020; and Jacqueline Shea has been at New Jersey Resources since 2016.

To execute its report, Revolent analyzed public data from sources including LinkedIn profiles and company websites.

“Recent research by talent creation experts Revolent has found that just 19.2% of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) working at Fortune 500 companies currently identify as female, with the average length of tenure for women set at around 3 years and 3 months, a full year and a half shorter than their male counterparts,” the report said.

According to Revolent, women in tech aren’t reaching the CIO level primarily because they’re dropping out of the industry.

The average CIO age is 55, yet 50% of women drop out of technology by age 35, a rate 45% higher than their male counterparts and 30% higher than other types of roles, the report said.

Stacey Goodman will join Prudential Financial Inc. as executive vice president and chief information officer (CIO), effective July 15.

Goodman, executive vice president and CIO at Prudential, noted that she entered the tech field when it was a “predominately male-dominated career choice” and that she at times had to work harder than her male counterparts and to be willing to be uncomfortable.

“As a 5-foot 2-inch woman who started her career in investment banking, I’ve endured the ‘looks’ and snap judgments about what I was capable of based on my gender. I had to endure situations like a boss that gave opportunities to men because he didn’t place equal value on the contributions of women. That drove me to work harder and consistently outperform — and that got me noticed by senior leaders who appreciated my work ethic and helped me navigate the corporate world,” Goodman shared, noting that the industry has made strides by increasing the number of women in tech in recent years.

“But there is much more work to be done when it comes to increasing the number of women in leadership roles within tech,” she said. “Progress is only possible if we individually take action and responsibility for creating an environment where everyone can succeed based on their abilities and contribution. To do that, my team and I continually recruit and develop diverse teams to help even the playing field in tech.”

International IT consulting firm Accenture released its Resetting Tech Culture study last year, which reported that if all companies championed diversity and inclusion equally as well as the top 20% of companies, then 1.4 million women in tech could be retained by 2030.

The firm suggests leveling the parental playing field by offering both parents leave after having or adopting a baby (which New Jersey has done since 2009), set external diversity goals as a metric and hold leaders accountable, and provide women-specific support like mentors, sponsors, and employee resource networks.