Are Women Returning to Tech in Switzerland?

Lisa Stähli
Decoding Tech
Published in
9 min readDec 12, 2022


Efforts towards bringing more women to IT are finally starting to pay off in Switzerland. An upwards trend can be observed since 2019 indicating that the pandemic had little to no impact on the return of women to tech in Switzerland.

Some good news to end the year! 🎉 In 2022 (Q3) the Federal Statistical Office (BFS) counted 32'213 women working in information technology and services which accounts for 20.8% of the total workforce (full-time equivalents) in the tech industry.

More than 20% of women in tech

Since 2019, the percentage of women in tech in Switzerland has increased by 2.2%. The statistical data shows that the percentage of women in tech crossed the 20% mark earlier this year for the first time again since 1994.

Between 2019 and 2022, the total workforce in IT has grown by 18.75% from 96'200 to 118'400 full-time equivalents. The number of women has increased in the same time period from 17'800 to 24'600 which results in a relative increase of +27.6%.

Percentage of women in tech in Switzerland from 1991–2022 (Source: BFS)

The information technology and services industry (IT) has grown in the last 31 years from 26'000 employees to more than 118'000 (full-time equivalents). The biggest increase can be observed towards early 2000 with the growth of use and adoption of the Internet and the subsequent dot-com bubble burst in 2002. The lowest percentage of women was in 2008 with 17.2% likely caused by the Great Recession.

Employees in information technology and services in Switzerland from 1991–2022 (Source: BFS)

A similar decrease was expected to happen in response to the pandemic between 2019 and 2021, however, the statistical data shows that the upwards trend of a steady increase of women in tech in Switzerland is still going strong.

This development is positively surprising as the recent Lean In Women in the Workplace report shows that the number of women in tech has decreased from 2018 to 2022 from 18% to 16% in the US as a likely result of the economic situation caused by the pandemic.

IT compared to other tech-related industries

When looking beyond IT, the data shows that the percentage of women in other tech-related industries such as telecommunication (24.6%), architecture and engineering (26.7%), research and development (39.7%), as well as freelance scientific and technical jobs (44.9%) is even higher.

All these other industries are showing an increase in the percentage of women in the last 30 years — with the exception of the telecommunication industry which is experiencing a downward trend since the beginning of the century that seems to be slowing down again since 2019 as well.

Percentage of women in Switzerland in tech-related industries from 1991–2022 (Source: BFS)

Why do women seem to return to tech right now?

The data seems to indicate that women are starting to return to the tech industry. The reasons for the upward trend can be potentially found in a number of developments that are offering partial explanations, including:

  • Immigration: Increase of foreign employees in tech
  • Female tech organizations: More active & engaged communities
  • Roles in tech: New emerging job titles & required skillsets
  • Education: Coding boot camps provide easier access

Increase of foreign employees in tech

The tech industry has seen a slightly more pronounced increase in foreign employees compared to other industries according to data from the Federal Statistical Office (BFS). In 2021, the percentage of foreign employees in information and communication, whereas IT is a subset of, was 28.8% — compared to 2006 when the percentage was at a low of 18.6%.

Development of the percentage of employees of foreign nationalities in different industries in Switzerland from 2003–2021 (Source: BFS)

This increase however might not be a full explanation for the increase of women in IT. When looking at this data by gender, the percentage of women with foreign nationalities has been quite stable (2022: 7.4% of total employees) whereas the percentage of women with Swiss nationality has declined (2022: 20.1% of total employees).

Development of percentage of women working in Information & Communication in Switzerland from 2003–2021 by nationality (Source: BFS)

Again, the information & communication industry tracks more than just IT, and also includes the telecommunication industry which has shown an overall decline in women. Therefore, the above statistics are only providing a partial explanation of the increase of women in tech.

Active & engaged communities

A clearer trend can be seen in the rise and visibility of female tech communities in Switzerland. TechFace reports 24 female tech communities in Switzerland, all working towards bringing more women to the tech industry. The communities have become more active and engaged over the last few years in an effort to bring women in tech together.

The visibility of the communities has also increased on Social Media, such as LinkedIn. The chart below shows the increase of LinkedIn followers for the largest female tech communities over the last year alone — some have more than doubled their reach.

Increase of LinkedIn followers in women in tech organizations from 2021–2022 (Source: LinkedIn Analytics)

The impact of female tech communities has recently been investigated by Michèle Brügger as part of a bachelor thesis at the University of St. Gallen. The report based on a number of interviews with representatives of the female tech communities concludes that the organization's impact is realistically limited to the retention of women in tech.

By providing a network of like-minded professionals, women are able to transition from one company to another, or from one role to another. However, the female communities are failing to attract women to the industry that are not already interested in tech or to inspire young women to study in tech-related fields.

Hacking for Humanity — Reimagining hackathons by creating a more diverse community of developers & designers, this year at the On Labs in Zurich. Pictures © Michael Sommerhalder

Beyond the retention, the female tech communities are nonetheless able to bring the topic to a broader audience and are working on creating a more positive image of the industry for the public. The tech industry provides a wide range of possibilities and opportunities for everyone, which is a message that is frequently carried out by female tech communities, e.g., by highlighting role models and personal stories of community members.

New emerging job titles & required skillsets

Another development in the tech industry might be helping to increase the percentage of women. In recent years, an increase in the diversity of roles and job titles, but also the required skillsets has opened up the industry for more diverse profiles and backgrounds.

Whereas 30 years ago most job titles in IT were related mostly to coding, tech companies understand today that for a successful product or software more is needed. The field of “experience design” (user experience, customer experience, developer experience) is still relatively young and has found great adoption in tech with roles such as User Experience Designers, Tech Writers, Customer Experience Experts, but also Developer Advocates.

Other roles such as Product Managers and Product Owners are also typically less reliant on coding skills — even though deeply embedded in development teams —, and require skills such as communication, writing, and being able to explain user needs for various stakeholders.

Percentage of women in different tech roles, © Entelo Women in Tech Report (2018), Source: Entelo

Such roles seem to be more suitable for candidates with a more diverse background — as indicated in the graphic below for the US showing the percentage of women in different roles. The percentage of women in Product Design roles tends to be almost twice as high as in Engineering.

Beyond that, the new roles and job titles are also less prone to trigger stereotypes coined by mass media. All in all, the new emerging roles in tech have led to a greater understanding of the diverse skills required to work successfully in tech teams, and to develop technology with a user-centric approach.

Coding boot camps provide easier access

More and more coding boot camps are becoming available in Switzerland for anyone to take up tech skills easily, for a reasonable price, and in a short amount of time. The first coding boot camp in Switzerland, Constructor Learning (former Propulsion Academy / SIT Academy), reports that 30% of their graduates are women over the last 6 years since they started — this year the percentage was 33.5%.

Other coding boot camps are reporting similar numbers, including Powercoders, which is a coding boot camp that trains refugees. At Powercoders, the number of female graduates has been around 26.1% in the last two years — which is a slight increase compared to their average of 22.7% overall.

Coding boot camp with diverse participants. © Powercoders

Le Wagon, a global coding boot camp, has recently opened offices in Zurich and Lausanne with great success. They are reporting for the Lausanne courses which are running since 2021 that 24% of graduates identified as female. For the first cohorts in Zurich this year the percentage of women is as high as 63% — thanks to a special effort to attract more female participants.

Continued efforts are needed

The data and trends support that women are indeed returning to the tech industry. However, women remain a minority, and continued efforts are needed to make tech more attractive for women so that we can build technology for all.

46.7% of women in tech are working part-time today (1991: 44.9%), compared to 18.7% of men (1991: 12.7%). This value represents the increased pressure on women to reduce their workload in order to take up family and care work at home. And even though the number of women might be increasing in entry-level positions, the number of women in leadership in tech is supposedly as low as ever.

The percentage of women in leadership positions in all industries in Switzerland is 31.7% in 2022 (Source: BFS). For the percentage of women in leadership in tech, unfortunately, no data is available for Switzerland.

However, a comparable statistic from Germany can give an idea of the so-called “leaky pipeline” that might be applied similarly in Switzerland. In Germany, the overall percentage of women in IT and science-related industries is 23.7%, whereas women hold only 14.1% of all leadership positions (Source: Beschäftigungsstatistik 2019).

What’s next for women in IT in Switzerland?

This article summarizes the current state of women in IT in Switzerland as seen in the statistical data, providing potential evidence for an upwards trend. In order to continue this trend, the tech industry needs to work collectively on creating a more diverse and welcoming environment for women — and for everybody else.

At Girls in Tech Switzerland, we truly believe that more diversity will be beneficial for everybody. But diversity will trigger us to rethink the current structures, roles, career paths, and communication patterns. If we continue to lead the — sometimes difficult — conversations and search for solutions together, we are certain that women will continue to return to the tech industry.

Our contribution towards this change is that we will continue to highlight each one of the 32'213 women in this industry in Switzerland, showing diversity in their roles, career paths, and fields of expertise. We will soon announce another set of women to keep an eye out for in 2023.

10 Women in Tech in Switzerland To Follow in 2022 (Source: Link)

Contribute yourself to the trend

Are you part of the tech industry in Switzerland and want to share your story with us? We’d love to feature you on our blog as we need more role models for those that are looking to increase diversity! Reach out now.

Thank you for reading thus far ❤ we hope you enjoyed the good news & can take it as motivation to advance the efforts towards more diversity in tech with us! Today we celebrate 🎉 tomorrow we will continue our work to attract & retain more women in tech.

Join us!
We are a diverse & inclusive tech community with a common goal — to empower women across industries & inspire them through learning and networking opportunities. Join us in our mission for gender equality in the tech industry in Switzerland.



Lisa Stähli
Decoding Tech

Product-minded software engineer & UX designer, advocate for diversity in tech, and yoga teacher.