How do male and female CIOs approach IT spending?

Male and female CIOs are responding to business pressures in their own unique ways, particularly with regards to budget concerns.


New research from Gartner has discovered that women are making their own mark in the IT industry, especially in the upper reaches of management.

A company’s digital success often relies on direction from the chief information officer (CIO). Without this guidance, businesses risk mismanaging security threats or failing to keep track of developing trends.

Management is the central focus of these roles, and Gartner found men and women are approaching these tasks in their own unique ways.

How are CIOs managing budget requirements?

The biggest difference according to Gartner, concerns their respective approaches to budget forecasts. On average, female CIOs are predicting a 2.4 per cent budget increase for IT spending in their companies. On the other hand, male CIOs are only expecting theirs to rise by 0.8 per cent.

This difference can greatly affect the way businesses approach new technology initiatives. Program Vice President at IDC Carrie MacGillivray said the importance of the CIO’s role can be seen particularly in the race to react to the Internet of Things trend.

Ms MacGillivray defines the CIO as a “critical stakeholder” in business and IT decisions, highlighting the influence these people have within these companies.

Gartner doesn’t have a clear answer to what might be causing these different forecasts, but suspects it has something to do with the way each gender is approaching IT security risks.

“The risk data, combined with budget numbers, may indicate that female CIOs are more focused on the resource side of the digital equation than their male peers and are, therefore, requesting and accumulating more IT budget money,” said Gartner Vice President Tina Nunno.

According to the firm, more than three-quarters (76 per cent) of female CIOs are likely to raise the issue of outdated risk procedures. In comparison, only 67 per cent of males are likely to do the same.

More female CIOs believe that analytics can be used more for forecasting rather than reviewing past trends compared to their male counterparts.