Women are reshaping the AI talent landscape but often receive less recognition

Women are contributing to AI development through critical research, science and engineering and tend to express greater interest in making AI safe for society through their professional work, according to a March 20 report from Zeki Research, a talent intelligence platform.

Although early-career women are highly valued by their peers, their trajectories are disrupted over time as their visibility and recognition drop by mid-career, according to the report.

“Women receive 30% less visibility and recognition as their careers progress compared to peers, representing a critical loss of potential within the AI field,” according to a Zeki statement.

In its Women in AI 2024 report, Zeki evaluated data across 109 countries for more than 33,000 women whose expertise enhances the AI community. In general, women who work in large companies leave quickly, with more than 60% of new employees leaving the Big Five (Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta and Microsoft) in the first two years.

Top women in AI are increasingly choosing to work in smaller groups and companies, where they tend to find better continuity and more female peers.

The top industries that attract top women in AI include health and consultancy, leading to triple digit growth in the past 10 years.

Talent acquisition teams may consider women’s unique contributions and career progressions in AI as interest grows in the field. AI-related job postings are on the rise again, particularly in software development, according to data from Indeed Hiring Lab.

However, talent pros should consider the potential gender gap in applicants, which can create an ongoing cycle of “diversity debt” as companies scale, according to University of Tennessee research. When men far outnumber women at a company, women are less likely to apply due to concerns about being singled out, marginalized or mistreated.

Women of color also continue to be disproportionately underrepresented in STEM-related fields despite having tech-ready skills, according to an NPower report. Although the “skill similar” talent pool has increased by 4%, the representation of women of color in tech has only increased by about 1 percentage point.