This series looks at the issues surrounding gender diversity within the technology sector. What can be done to bridge the gender gap and encourage more women to pursue a career in IT profession?
Gender diversity within the workplace is essential for any business to flourish in today’s modern economy. Not only have studies found that diversity can be effective in improving a company’s bottom line, it also encourages creativity and helps provide new ideas and more varied points of view, so aiding company growth.
Over the past few decades there have been incredible advancements in improving gender diversity across a number of the UK’s industry sectors. However, sadly the male dominated tech sector has a long way to go in bridging its current gender gap. Recent findings from The Women in Technology Project Research Report 2015, commissioned and funded by the Education and Training Foundation, shows that in total 46% of the UK’s workforce is female, but women only account for 15% of the IT professional workforce.
Furthermore, a survey conducted by Tech London Advocates found that 23% of London based technology companies have no women working in senior positions.
What has led to these disappointing statistics?
Could it be that the UK’s schools have not been doing enough to encourage female students to engage in subjects such as maths, science and IT? Recent figures show that only 5,604 female students are currently enrolled in university computing courses, compared to 24,908 male students. This is the lowest number of female computing students in recent years. This lack of female participation in the subject at higher education level has a direct effect on the number of women pursuing a career in the field of IT.
Traditionally maths and science, both subjects that can lead into careers in IT, have been seen as ‘male subjects’. Removing this stigma could go a long way in encouraging young girls to get involved with the subjects at school, this in turn could improve the number of female students enrolling on computing courses at university, leading to higher female employment within the IT sector in the future.
A lack of female role models could also be to blame. In an industry dominated by men there have been very few role models for young women joining the industry to aspire to. Although, it looks like this could finally be changing as we are starting to see women taking on major roles in high profile companies. For instance, the current President and CEO of Yahoo is Marissa Mayer. Likewise, the CEO of YouTube is Susan Wojcicki. The introduction of women in top roles such as these is a sign of improvement in gender diversity within the sector.
We should be concerned about gender diversity in our industry. At Think IT, we offer our full support and professional advice to women wishing to pursue, or develop their career in IT. We also advise employers on ways they can make their IT positions more appealing to women.
If we all make a conscious effort to encourage gender diversity in our industry, it could go a long way to addressing the current imbalance.
The next article in our Gender Diversity Series is called Girl POWER. What effect can gender diversity have on business?
By Roger Mills, Co-founder of Think IT Recruitment.
As always, if there’s anything in this article you would like to discuss, please start a conversation or get in touch with me.