Women, Tech, and Work-Life Balance in NYC
By Fiona Peach, Assistant Vice President, and Andrea Moore, Project Manager, Economic Research and Analysis
New York City’s tech scene has been getting a lot of attention lately, including our most recent StatsBee post about NYC’s tech boom in 2012. A recent WNYC event about how tech is changing the way women work made StatsBee curious about the gender breakdown in NYC’s employment, education, entrepreneurship, and work habits. We turned to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey to provide some insight.
In 2011, women made up 48.6% of the civilian employed population over 16 in New York City, which was higher than the 47.7% in the United States overall. Notably, relatively more New York City women work in tech-related industries. For instance, in 2011, 8.1% of the NYC female workforce were employed in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, compared to 5.9% for the United States overall.
The female population is also relatively more educated in New York City. In 2011, 34.2% of the City’s female population age 25 and over had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 28.3% for the United States. Of those with at least a bachelor’s degree, a higher percentage of women in New York City had their first major in a tech-related field: 39.2% of NYC women with a bachelor’s degree majored in science, engineering, or related fields, compared to 38.3% for the United States. Importantly, young women in NYC (25 to 39 years old) with degrees in these fields are driving this difference.
Women are more likely to be self-employed in New York City than in the rest of the country. 7.9% of the civilian employed female population was self-employed in 2011 in New York City, compared to 7.2% nationwide. Out of the five largest U.S. cities (New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia), the NYC rate of female self-employment is surpassed only by Los Angeles (13.4%). Furthermore, a 2012 Startup Ecosystem Report by Startup Genome found that relatively more New York City start-ups are founded by women: 18% of startups in New York City compared to 10% in Silicon Valley.
Where and when people work is an indicator of how tech-connected their jobs are. Non-traditional arrangements like working from home are more common in start-ups and emerging industries than in conventional corporate office culture. Similarly, start-ups tend to have flexible hours, but their employees usually work full-time because growing companies require large labor inputs. New York City’s female workforce is more likely to work full-time than in the rest of the country. In 2011, 41.2% of women worked at least 35 hours per week in NYC for the whole year, compared to 39.7% nationwide. Approximately 66,000 female New York City residents worked from home in 2011. This was 3.4% of all working women, slightly above the rate of 3.3% for men.
While the balance of women and men in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields is certainly not yet even, the data seem to imply that New York City is on its way to a better equilibrium. As Silicon Alley continues to grow and applied sciences programs from Cornell, Columbia, and New York Universities expand, even more opportunities for women in tech will grow in New York City.