Recent statistics have revealed that only 17% of the tech workforce in the UK are women. Hardly surprising when you consider only one in six school leavers starting a degree in computer science in 2016 was a woman and the total number of girls taking computer science at GCSE fell by 12% in the same year. Regardless, the industry is rapidly growing and the supply of qualified candidates can’t keep up with demand.
Gender stereotyping still exists
There is some evidence to suggest that the deficit of women in IT jobs has come about as a result of gender stereotyping. Certainly, in the past, there has been the misperception that boys are better at maths (although girls tend to achieve better grades at high school), so fewer females have pursued science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) at university level. This imbalance then translates into the workplace.
But there appears to be an additional problem for those that do that do get there. Women are 45% more likely to leave within a year than men, citing lower opportunities for promotion and wage discrimination.
New initiatives to bring more women into tech
Hopefully, things will change as several new initiatives have been launched to redress the balance. A new fund by the government has been set up to boost diversity in the tech industry, not only for women, but for disabled people and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The £1 million Digital Skills Innovation Fund was set up in September 2018 to attract bids from Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Combined Authorities for initiatives that encourage women to succeed in IT jobs, such as data analysts, programmers, cybersecurity specialists and software developers.
The Mayor Of London, Sadiq Khan, who is known for his efforts to bring diversity to the public workforce has also launched the ‘Our Time: Supporting Future Leaders’ scheme to tackle the same gender imbalance in tech roles in the public sector, as well as the pay gap. This will work by pairing ‘high-potential’ women with senior staff champions who will open up new avenues and opportunities for progression.
The private sector is looking for more women too
Aside from jobs in London, there are more tech opportunities than ever opening up for women across the UK with jobs in Oxfordshire, jobs in Edinburgh and jobs in Nottingham, to name a few. This is because the private sector is stepping in to do its part too. The Tech She Can Charter is an initiative by which 19 organisations including PwC, JP Morgan, TechGirls and Digital Jam have got together to encourage women and providing the assistance they need to take up roles in the technology.
At a time when there are around 1.64 million jobs in the tech industry and the growth rate of digital jobs has been double that of non-digital roles between 2011 and 2015, these are all welcome initiatives to bring more women into tech disciplines.
Looking for opportunities to progress your current tech career? At Zoek, we currently have IT opportunities, including new developer jobs in Lancaster as well as tech jobs in Wrexham. So start your new job search on Zoek today.
Interested in finding out more about the subjects raised on this page?
Simply click on the tags below to read related blog posts...