Diversity is not exactly on companies' agendas during tough economic times; most corporate directives are about survival rather than creating opportunities. Opportunities in the tech and IT industries seem to be particularly closed-off for women, as tech jobs are typically held by men. The tides are changing, however, and there's research to prove that women add to innovation in tech, with female-filed industry patents slowly growing. Tech companies are catching on, and some are actively looking to hire women for their IT positions. The following are some of the top tech companies hiring women.

In Pictures: A Bigger Salary Or Better Benefits?

  • IBM (NYSE: IBM)
    Ever since it appointed Ruth Leach as its first woman VP in 1943, IBM has been at the forefront when it comes to creating a female-friendly corporate climate. The company has more women networks than any other; networks that foster career development, better communication between men and women, and global discussions. Approximately one third of IBM's workforce us made up of women.

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)
    In addition to its focus on diversity in tech hiring, Google also partners with dozens of organizations focused on getting young women opportunities in tech fields. The company recognizes that diversity, including female employees, adds to its success, and has created several corporate positions managing its diversity policies. (For more, check out Female CEOs: What It Takes To Climb The Corporate Ladder.)

  • Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)
    Microsoft has repeatedly made the list in Working Mother Magazine's top companies to work due to its family-friendly culture. Along with a host of diversity partners, Microsoft actively promotes opportunities for teen girls in tech, and sponsors hiring women in tech through the Seed program, a small-business start-up funding program encouraging women in tech fields.

  • Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO)
    To promote women in tech, Cisco has 34 Women's Action Networks (WAN) within its global operations. Cisco also tracks its WAN's diversity success with performance reviews and other criteria, like diversity surveys. In 2009, women made up 23.35% of Cisco's total employees, while 15.47% of its VP positions and higher were also women. (For more about successful women in tech industries, check out 7 Women Inventors And Their Indispensable Designs.)

  • Intel (Nasdaq: INTC)
    Like Cisco and other tech giants listed here, Intel touts a women's focus group among its employees: Women at Intel Network (WIN). The company also supports girls' continued tech education in grades K-12.

  • Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM)
    Along with promoting diversity with some of its Employee Resource Groups, Qualcomm has a women's focus group called Qualcomm Women in Science and Engineering (QWISE). The group encourages more women to be hired in IT positions, as well as career growth for female employees.

  • AT&T (NYSE: T)
    AT&T boasts a $244 million investment in employee training, including an accelerated development program for prospective manager, with a nearly 50% female participation. Their $25 million tuition reimbursement program helps more than 4,800 female employees get continuing education. AT&T was recognized in 2009 as one of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity.

Women in Tech
So how do you identify tech companies with good IT opportunities for women? They make women a priority, often with specific programs or groups fostering growth among their female employees. These companies look out for exceptional female employees, allowing them to grow with mentorship, and without the bias against women that's often ingrained in large corporate cultures, particularly in the IT industry.

These tech companies create family-friendly environments, to allow women in tech to enjoy a career while still allowing them to meet their family commitments. Many of these companies support better educational opportunities and the fostering of tech talent among young girls and teens, to encourage women in tech for decades to come. Progressive companies like the ones listed here understand that if they give women a chance at the top, it'll feed their bottom line - so everyone wins.

If you're still feeling uninformed, check out last week's business highlights in Water Cooler Finance: Auto Hope, Bubbling Oil and Obamanomics.

Related Articles
  1. Economics

    Industries That Thrive On Recession

    Recessions are not equally hard on everyone. In fact, there are some industries that even flourish amid the adversity.
  2. Fundamental Analysis

    Is a U.S. Industrial Recession on the Horizon in 2016?

    Find out why the industrial economy may be teetering on an industrial recession and what could prevent it from going over the cliff.
  3. Fundamental Analysis

    Gloom and Doom for Global Markets in 2016?

    Learn about the volatility in global markets during the beginning of 2016. See why famous investors are saying some economies could see recessions.
  4. Investing News

    The Top 5 Female CEOs to Watch Out For in 2016

    Here is why these five women CEOs will make a big impact in 2016.
  5. Investing News

    Is it the Right Time to Raise Interest Rates?

    Warning signs have started to emerge that point to a potentially dismal 2016 for the U.S. economy.
  6. Stock Analysis

    Worried About a Recession? Consider These 5 Stocks

    If you're worried about a recession, consider these five stocks that offer resiliency potential.
  7. Personal Wealth & Private Banking

    Women, Invest In Your Financial Literacy

    Becoming financially literate should be on the to-do list of anyone who is not.
  8. Economics

    3 Economic Challenges Russia Faces in 2016

    Learn about the three largest challenges facing the Russian economy in 2016. How will low oil prices and high inflation impact the Russian economy?
  9. Economics

    Davos 2016, Day 1: No Crash, But Robots Are Taking Over

    Lagarde says chill out, Biden wants to rescue the middle class.
  10. Your Practice

    Famous Women Financial Advisors You Should Know

    You've seen the financial gurus on TV but have you seen these top six financial advisors? They have a lot to offer and a wealth of experience in the field.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Which mutual funds made money in 2008?

    Out of the 2,800 mutual funds that Morningstar, Inc., the leading provider of independent investment research in North America, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do interest rates increase during a recession?

    Interest rates rarely increase during a recession. Actually, the opposite tends to happen; as the economy contracts, interest ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the risks of annuities in a recession?

    Annuities come in several forms, the two most common being fixed annuities and variable annuities. During a recession, variable ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does the risk of investing in the industrial sector compare to the broader market?

    There is increased risk when investing in the industrial sector compared to the broader market due to high debt loads and ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How can I hedge my portfolio to protect from a decline in the retail sector?

    The retail sector provides growth investors with a great opportunity for better-than-average gains during periods of market ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the correlation between term structure of interest rates and recessions?

    There is no question that interest rates have enormous macroeconomic importance. Many economists and analysts believe the ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  2. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  3. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
  4. Quarterly Earnings Report

    A quarterly filing made by public companies to report their performance. Included in earnings reports are items such as net ...
  5. Dark Pool Liquidity

    The trading volume created by institutional orders that are unavailable to the public. The bulk of dark pool liquidity is ...
Trading Center