News and Insights

Women in eCommerce Survey Results 2024

Women in eCommerce

Things can only get better?

We asked 67 women working in ecommerce roles about their experiences in the industry and the results are a mix of optimism, challenges, and a collective call for continued progress.

With International Women's Day taking place on the 8th of March, it's an opportune moment to reflect on the state of gender equality and the situation for women within the ecommerce industry. In 2024 - amidst rapid technological advancements and shifting market dynamics - we felt it was important to capture the sentiments, experiences, and hopes of women working in this vibrant sector today.

A cautiously positive outlook

Our findings paint a picture of cautious optimism. While a substantial 76.9% of respondents believe that the situation for women in ecommerce will improve, there remains a significant portion who feel that challenges will persist. 

Notably, none of our respondents predicted a regression in gender equality within the industry, a testament to the resilience and hope for the future that's harboured by women in this field.

This optimism is reflected in a recent survey which suggested that wage growth was on the rise for women in ecommerce, with 63% of wage rises amongst ecommerce roles going to women in 2023.

Women helped me more with self awareness and identifying my natural strengths

A survey respondent

The value of learning from and being supported by other women is a recurring theme - with 70.3% reporting that learning from other women has been crucial to their career development. This points towards the critical role of female mentorship, visibility of female leaders, and supportive networks in overcoming barriers and fostering career growth. With this in mind it's excellent to see that recent analysis suggests a higher proportion of female leaders in ecommerce than in the wider retail industry.

In general, a slim majority (39.4%) of respondents felt that gender bias ecommerce was similar to other industries, while 34.8% felt that the situation was better for women. Only 13.6% of women felt that ecommerce was worse in terms of gender bias than other industries.

The good…

A positive outlook: A significant portion of respondents (76.9%) believe the situation for women in ecommerce will improve, with none believing it will get worse - reflecting optimism for the future.

Support from peers: Learning from other women has been crucial for 70.3% of the respondents, highlighting the importance of female mentorship and networks in personal and professional growth.

Progression is possible: The majority of respondents (66.2%) have not found it hard to progress in the ecommerce industry, indicating a relatively positive environment for career development.

A changing landscape is good news: The rise in demand for less gender-focused roles (62.1%) and changes to the gender pay gap (44.8%) are seen as significant positive changes.

Flexibility fosters progress: While the pressures of parenting and childcare are common challenges, there is an appreciation that the increased flexibility in work arrangements post-COVID-19 has positively impacted women's ability to manage work and family commitments.

Persistent barriers in the road ahead

Despite the positive outlook around half of participants acknowledge gender bias as a tangible barrier to their professional advancement. The intersection of ecommerce with technology - a field traditionally dominated by men - amplifies these challenges, echoing sentiments that the journey towards gender parity is far from over.

I think it's improving but there is still an element of 'boys club' mentality in ecommerce. I know that there is still a gender pay gap here, and sadly career advancement is slower as a woman - I think you have to work much harder to prove yourself.

A survey respondent

The survey also brought to light other enduring challenges women face in the ecommerce industry - with stereotypes and the pressures of parenting and childcare remaining significant obstacles to progression. 

Furthermore, the data highlighted a disparity in career advancement opportunities, with a majority of respondents agreeing that women are often evaluated based on past accomplishments rather than future potential.

The bad…

Around half have experienced issues: Respondents have experienced pay inequality (47.3%), progression imbalance (52.7%), and stereotype culture (52.7%), highlighting ongoing issues within the industry.

The usual suspects a barrier to progress: Stereotypes (59.4%), gender bias (50%), and pressures of parenting/childcare (65.6%) are still seen as significant factors hindering women's progression in ecommerce roles.

Men and women promoted for different reasons: A majority agree (67.7%) that women are often promoted based on past accomplishments rather than future potential, suggesting a disparity in career advancement opportunities compared to men.

Inspiring inclusion

In light of these findings, the theme for International Women's Day 2024, "Inspire Inclusion", resonates deeply. It calls for a concerted effort to create environments where everyone, irrespective of gender, can thrive.

To me, inspiring inclusion means creating an inclusive environment where all women feel valued, respected, and most importantly heard across all areas of life. This involves acknowledging the unique experiences and identities of women from diverse backgrounds and ensuring they are not only welcomed but also empowered.

Jennie Hopkins, eCommerce Manager at instantprint

Our survey respondents echoed this sentiment, emphasising the need for more female representation in leadership, flexible working conditions, and an end to the pay gap as critical to fostering an inclusive and equitable ecommerce industry.

Looking ahead

The narrative emerging from our survey is one of resilience, hope, and a clear-eyed recognition of the work that lies ahead. As the ecommerce industry continues to evolve, these insights from the women at its heart offer invaluable guidance on how businesses can support and empower their diverse talent pools.

The path forward demands not just the recognition of achievements but a steadfast commitment to addressing the systemic barriers that remain. Only then can we truly answer the question, "Things can only get better?" with a resounding yes.

eCommerce is a demanding job, your store is open 24/7. Having female leadership throughout my career has been key for my development in the industry. From how to behave politically, how to negotiate, and also in my personal growth.

A survey respondent

As we commemorate International Women's Day, let's renew our commitment to fostering an ecommerce industry that champions equality, inclusivity, and empowerment. Let’s look to a future where gender no longer dictates one's ability to succeed and lead. In ecommerce, as in all sectors, the time to inspire inclusion and celebrate diversity is now.

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