Gender in the GIS Workforce

Caitlin Dempsey


A recent GIS job survey from GIS Lounge sought to understand the state of gender balance in the GIS industry.  The survey collected responses from 1,186 GIS professionals.  

The survey asked a few basic questions about GIS job titles, location of respondent, and gender in order to understand the gender balance for those working in the GIS industry.

Global GIS Job Respondents

On a global level, there are a little less than twice as many males as females working in the GIS industry.  Of the respondents, 750 (63%) were males and 436 (37%) were female. Related: Women in GIS Networking Groups

The respondents came from all levels within GIS:

Pie chart and text showing the breakdown of GIS job titles.

A total of 42 countries had at least one respondent to the survey.  The country with the most respondents was the United States with 690 survey submission, representing 58.4% of the total valid location-based responses (1162 of the 1186 responses provided a location).  

Canada with 64 and the United Kingdom with 63 were the next most populous response countries.  Australia with 31 was the fourth ranked country in terms of respondents, followed by India with 20.

Geography of Gender Distribution in GIS

Most of respondent countries had too few entries to be able to make any statistically significant conclusions about gender balance in those countries.  For example, all ten of the respondents for Sweden were male.

Looking at the United States, the overall gender breakdown is pretty well balanced.  

Of the 690 US-based respondents,  315 (45.7%) were female and 375 (54.3%) were male.  

By contrast, only 21 (32.8%) of the 64 respondents for Canada were female.  The United Kingdom had an even lower percentage of females with only 15 (23.8%) of the 63 respondents being female.

Related: Is Sexism a Problem in GIS?

Breakdown of GIS Job Titles

Looking at the gender balance at the GIS title level indicates that for Interns, Technicians, and Specialist, the gender ratio is pretty well aligned with the overall ratio for all GIS professionals.  

The Analyst position shows the best gender balance with 44.9% female to 55.1% males.  The Developer and Executive positions show the most gender imbalance.  

Females who are GIS developers only represent 24.4% of the total for that group.  Only 22.22% of those in Executive Management (such as GIOs) report to be female.  (For an overview of different GIS job titles visit the Building a GIS Career article).

Read next: Survey of GIS Professionals

See Also


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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.

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1 thought on “Gender in the GIS Workforce”

  1. Thanks for working on this — it definitely is an interesting and important topic. I wonder how accurate the results of a self-reported, self-selected group of responses is, though. For example, women may be more likely than men to complete a survey about gender balance, thereby skewing the results.

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