There's no debating that employers in technology industries point to a skills gap as a reason they cannot fill job openings.
However, two recent studies from suburban-based organizations point to a bigger gap in a key area of the potential workforce -- women.
News bytes• There's a change in leadership at Bensenville-based Rubicon Technology.
Timothy E. Brog was named the company's chief executive officer. Brog, who has been a director of Rubicon since May 2016, replaces Bill Weissman, who resigned as CEO and from the company's board of directors.
Weissman will serve as a consultant to Rubicon Technology under terms to be agreed upon.
In addition, Susan M. Westphal has been appointed as an independent director of the company.
Westphal is the chief counsel of Melissa and Doug, LLC, a designer and manufacturer of educational toys and children's products, where is responsible for a range of legal, strategic, and organizational matters.
From January 2012 to January 2016, Westphal was an attorney with Brody and Associates.
• Motorola Solutions has acquired Interexport, a Chilean company that provides managed and support services for communications systems to government public safety and business agencies.
Terms of the acquisition were not announced.
"Acquiring Interexport helps us deliver on our strategy to drive growth for our global Managed & Support Services business," said Motorola Chairman and CEO Greg Brown. "We will build on Interexport's proven network and service delivery platform to expand and diversify our Managed & Support Services business in Chile and throughout Latin America."
Motorola Solutions expects Interexport to add approximately $50 million in revenue for 2017.
Separate studies from Rolling Meadows-based technology association ISACA and the Career Advisory Board of Downers Grove-based DeVry University highlight the gap of women in the workforce and the issues that are keeping them from realizing their potential in technology.
In the ISACA study -- released in March to coincide with International Women's Day -- the organization cites wage inequality compared to male workers, workplace gender bias and a shortage of female role models among the main barriers faced by women in the field.
More than 500 female members of ISACA participated in a online survey conducted in November 2016. The findings showed the top five barriers women experience in the field are a lack of mentors (48 percent); lack of female role models in the field (42 percent); gender bias in the workplace (39 percent); unequal growth opportunities compared to men (36 percent); and unequal pay for the same skills (35 percent).
Seventy-five percent said their employer lacks a gender leadership development program, while 8 out of 10 women said their supervisors are male and 8 percent said they never experienced gender bias in the workplace.
"Women are vastly underrepresented in the global technology workforce. This is not only a societal concern, but also a workforce problem, given the critical shortage of skilled technology professionals faced by many enterprises," Jo Stewart-Rattray, an ISACA board director and director of information security and IT assurance at BRM Holdich, said in a prepared statement.
The survey found that women want mentors, role models and strong networking opportunities.
While the Career Advisory Board study was more broadly focused on an the overall gap in applied and hard technology skills in the workforce, one of its key recommendation is training and hiring more women to fill the jobs that need to be filled in the industry.
"On a certain level, the tech skills gap doesn't make any sense," the report states. "Why not fill it with women, who are 50 percent of the population, yet are massively underrepresented in the IT industry?"
The study recommends the public and private sectors partner to establish skills development programs that target girls a at a very young age, and support them with mentoring and resources as they proceed through school and into their careers.
On a broader level, the Career Advisory Board study found employers say they are stymied in filling jobs because of a lack in applied and hard technology skills among current employees and new applicants.
The group contacted 500 executives, hiring managers and HR professionals in the industry, and found 71 percent agreed it is rare for an employee to possess all requirements outlined in a job description. Nearly 60 percent said it was common for job applicants to lack the technology skills important for success in their career, with half reporting a tech skills deficit in their current employee base.
"The tech skills gap is a well-known issue among both educators and employers," said Alexandra Levit, chair of the Career Advisory Board.
Four in five agreed that for technology to be effective, it must integrate people, process, data and devices.
In addition to tapping into the women employee pool, the study recommends educational institutions consistently upgrade its curricula and leverage design thinking, encourage tinkering, build reciprocal mentorship channels and review what's working elsewhere.