The boom in the tech industry is creating more and more jobs, with software, cybersecurity and cloud computing professionals particularly in high demand. It’s believed that in 2017 there were 627,000 unfilled positions in tech sector.
According to recent statistics only 17% of employees in UK tech sector are women, highlighting just how much more there is to do to encourage women into the UK technology sector. With less than 20% of employees in the UK technology sector being women, that equates to only one in five school leavers starting a degree in computer science being female.
Why are women not equally represented?
There are several factors that prevent women from pursuing a tech career. According to a survey, girls become interested in tech careers at age 11, but lose interest soon after. Experts believe lack of female mentors and gender inequality are some of the factors responsible for this trend.
On top of everything else, gender bias is extremely prominent in the tech industry. And unwittingly, companies foster a culture that doesn’t encourage women to pursue a career in tech.
Back in 2014 just 31 percent of Facebook’s and Apple’s employees were women. Both companies have hired a new head of diversity and inclusion and say that they’re on their way to changing this.
What stops women entering the tech sector?
- Gender stereotyping remains the primary issue. There is still a perception in schools that boys are better at science and maths and, as a result, young girls are put off STEM subjects. This can also be reinforced at home, where it’s often seen as the man’s job to do the technical stuff.
- Stanford researchers observed more than 75 recruiting sessions held by more than 60 companies and identified countless seemingly obvious ways the recruiters might be alienating female recruits, from sexist jokes to presentations displaying only slides of men. Others have found that male-dominated industries tend to use masculine language that doesn’t appeal to women.
Times are changing
Luckily, times are changing and big players are taking steps to attract more female employees. In addition to investing in the recruitment and retention of female staff, companies are addressing the pay gap and offering flexible work policies.
The gender gap in tech is a much-discussed topic, and an important one. As the gender gap in tech sectors becomes more apparent businesses are having to do a lot more to provide gender equality in their businesses. From holding workshops and sessions in schools and universities to show women how they can work within the tech sector and remove stereotypical conventions many people are aware of.