A women's place is in the tech industry
By Samantha Anderson
No, we’re not trying to recreate Burger King’s fail of an International Women’s Day advert. We’re talking about a lack of gender diversity in the industry.
The tech industry has received a lot of attention the past few years. From encouraging young women to consider STEM careers to addressing gender pay gaps in boardrooms, a lot of companies have been trying to address the lack of diversity and inclusion in tech.
But with a huge 81% of tech roles still being held by men, and women holding only 29% of available leadership roles in the tech industry, there’s still a huge way to go.
Why are we seeing such a divide in the genders for tech roles?
In the past decade, an average of 17% of new hires in tech have been women. So why is there such a divide? Britain’s technology industry has boomed in the last decade. In 2018 alone, tech firms have attracted more than £6bn worth of venture capital funding, according to Tech Nation. That’s more than any other European country. A staggering 80% of tech investments in the UK are in fast-growing businesses, meaning more jobs are being created as more revolutionary products and services are being developed each year. The tech industry has never had it so good, so where are the women? They’re missing out on the entrepreneurial success. Even worse than that, a new survey has shown that the number of women in the tech sector has barely moved over the past 10 years, despite the industry-wide push.
So, why are women put off from joining the industry?
There’s been a lot written about the industry being perceived as a mostly male-dominated industry. Female role models are far and few between, and at its worst, the tech industry has cultivated a toxic ‘bro culture’. Take for example Travis Kalanick, Uber’s founder, who was forced to step down as Chief Executive, as he was accused of creating a sexist work culture that discriminated against female employees. And it’s sad to see, but over a quarter of female students have said they’ve been put off working in this industry, because it’s too male dominated.
We’re all aware of the lack of girls taking STEM subjects in higher education – every university is working to attract more female students into these courses. Yet, only 9% of female graduates in 2018 studied a core STEM subject – Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths. And of those 9% of female students, the vast majority of them aren’t considering technology careers, as they aren’t given enough information on what working in the sector involves. Pair that with a lack of female role models and of course they’re seeing that they’re not being represented in the industry.
Did you know only 22% of students could name a famous female working in technology? Yet two thirds can name a famous man working in it.
But more businesses are trying to address the gender imbalance, and hundreds have signed up to the Tech Talent Charter, a government backed initiative that commits participants to adopt recruitment and retention practices that will help create a more diverse workforce.
So, what will the future of tech hold, and we will ever see an equal divide in genders?
Get in touch to find out how we can help you understand how to effectively find the right talent to help you shift the balance in your early careers programmes.