Tackling the gender imbalance in the UK tech sector
Women in Tech It’s no secret that encouraging the best and brightest into the UK tech sector is essential if we want the industry to continue to thrive.
Sadly, the statistics on who is contributing to the tech sector still show one hugely untapped source of talent, women.
The numbers show women as the minority
Research over the last few years speaks for itself; when looking at senior employees of tech companies operating in the UK, women are a minority.
A recent study showed that over the last 10 years, the percentage of women taking CIO (Chief Information Offer) roles in tech companies has stayed stagnant at around 14%.
How to make the tech sector appealing again
Views on how to resolve the gender imbalance in the tech industry are varied and debated amongst policy makers and industry representatives alike. We can, for example, do more to encourage girls to see tech as interesting and fun; we can look at how to help women who are re-entering the tech sector regain any lost confidence or skills; some even advocate quotas for women.
Looking beyond the differing views on how to address the sector’s gender imbalance, one area of consensus is the need to ensure that the next generation of women are encouraged from an early age to take an interest in, and develop the required skills to build a successful career in IT.
Changes need to be made
Thankfully, there is a lot of traction around the skills gap issue. Policy makers and industry organisations are taking action to change the perception of tech amongst girls and to build the skills needed to grow a successful career in the industry.
Technology is key to our future and we need to inspire young people (both male and female) to embrace tech for the benefit of their lives, their careers and all of society.
A step forward was the creation of a national partnership-led campaign of activity on Women in STEM. The Government backed ‘call to action’ created in 2013, asked organisations to work together to boost female participation in technology and engineering. The aim was to support a step-change in how women and girls are encouraged into technology and engineering careers and to promote vocational pathways or related subject choices– such as the study of maths and physics.
Industry is taking action too. TechUK have a Women in Tech Programme aligned to the European e-Skills for Jobs project, which aims to raise awareness of the e-skills gap across Europe - a gap that women are more than capable of filling. This project touches on the critical point; that by tackling the gender imbalance in the tech sector such that it becomes not only a feasible but a desirable career for women, we can address the skills gap in the tech industry as a whole thus ensuring it retains its market position as the cornerstone of industry across global markets.
Inspiring women to enter the tech industry
As an advocate of tech, I know that the technology industry is a hugely creative, exciting and innovative sector to be part of. Yet all too often, the creativity and innovation many young girls display at school does not break through into the tech industry. With government and industry support, that can change – it has to change. Technology is key to our future and we need to inspire young people (both male and female) to embrace tech for the benefit of their lives, their careers and all of society.