New Orleans is Closing the Gender Gap in Male-Dominated Tech

By: Will Scott, CEO and co-founder of Search Influence, a New Orleans-based online marketing company. Scott has been helping small businesses get online since 1994. He has led teams responsible for building thousands of small business websites, building hundreds of thousands of pages in online directories and delivering millions of visits from search. At Search Influence, Will leads a team of dedicated professionals who put customer results first.

Who is working at Google? Yahoo? LinkedIn? If you imagine a sea of male workers, you’re probably pretty close. That’s because those companies are majority male, according to the latest diversity figures released by the tech giants. And while it’s true that men dominate many tech industries, there are signs that New Orleans is shrinking that gender gap. In fact, the Big Easy—not Silicon Valley—is one of the best cities in the nation for women in tech, according to a new survey from SmartAsset analyzing data from the U.S. Census Bureau. New Orleans has the second highest percentage of women in tech—36.5 percent—of any city included in the study. Tech women in the Crescent City also make just 4.5 percent less than men, which beats the national average gender pay gap of 15 percent in tech fields, according to the study.

Search Influence is closing the gender gap in male-dominated tech.

Search Influence is closing the gender gap in male-dominated tech.

That shrinking tech gender gap is also true in online marketing where at New Orleans-based Search Influence, the largest online marketing firm on the Gulf Coast, females are actually the majority. Compare that to the online marketing industry as a whole where only 28 percent are women, according to the latest industry survey by online marketing toolmaker and thought leader, Moz. At the downtown New Orleans offices of Search Influence, females make up 68 percent of workers. That means when businesses look to Search Influence for its online marketing expertise, chances are they will be working with a woman.

In fact, the largest percentage of female employees at Search Influence serve as account managers. These account managers are not only creative multi-taskers, they are also great translators for the small business owners who make up the majority of clients. While these small business owners can talk for days about the details of their industries, they are often unfamiliar with the technical nuances that make online marketing work. With this in mind, account managers don’t simply fire off an email to their clients proclaiming that the javascript on the company’s website is blocking the Google bots or that the cookies on a paid search campaign must be fixed in order to track visitors, for example. Instead, the account managers work with the Search Influence paid search team (an all-female team) and the development team to define the problem then relay the solution back to the business owner clearly and succinctly in easily understandable terms.

Search Influence is not only bucking the national trend of the male-dominated online marketing industry, the firm has also garnered amazing growth since 2007 as a result. As co-founder of Search Influence (the company I started with my wife, Angie), I know that our team members—again, the majority are women—have brought us great success in recent years. In 2011, for example, Search Influence was the only New Orleans-based company on the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. This year, Search Influence was named one of 50 best places to work by New Orleans CityBusiness and also made the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. Women are definitely making a mark in this industry of online marketing and it speaks to the importance of gender diversity in the workplace as a whole:

Why is gender diversity important?

According to the latest study from the National Center for Women & Information Technology, companies with women in the work force experience:

  1. Better financial performance

Gender-balanced companies perform better financially, especially when women make up a significant proportion of top management. Of 2,360 global companies surveyed in a variety of industries, companies with women on the executive boards outperformed companies with all-male executive boards.

  1. Better teamwork

In a study of 1,400 team members from 100 teams at 21 companies in 17 countries, gender-balanced teams were most likely to experiment, be creative, share knowledge and fulfill tasks. In fact, the most confident teams had a slight female majority.

  1. Better productivity

A study of 272 projects at four companies found that gender diversity on technical work teams was associated with better adherence to project schedules, lower project costs, higher employee performance ratings and higher employee pay bonuses.

If you’re looking for a job in the exciting world of online marketing, we’d love to hear from you. And, if you feel like you’d enjoy working with someone who not only understands the technology, but also wants you to understand, please give us a call. We’d love to help.