Closing the Gender Gap in IT

The number of women working in the IT sector has stagnated over recent years with research revealing that only one in six tech specialists in the UK are female.

Just 23% of the people working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) roles across the UK are female – and only 5% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women.

In fact, women only account for around 16.8% of total workers in the UK’s tech sector. And the proportion of women working in specialist roles falls as seniority rises.

Female IT business analysts, architects and system designers falls to 14.1% and further still to just 12.5% of programmers and software developers, according to data from the Office of National Statistics.

Furthermore, 78% of students in a recent PWC study couldn’t name a single famous female working in technology and only 3% of females claim a career in tech would be their first choice. 

Despite the fact that women accounted for over half (57%) of students enrolled in higher education in 2018, women were a considerable minority in Engineering and Technology (17.6%) and Computer Science (17.7%).

Around one million women would have to be recruited to work within the UK technology sector in order to reach true gender parity.

How can this gender gap be closed? There are many ways girls can be encouraged to give IT a go. Parents of daughters can play a part by introducing stories about strong female role models, especially those in tech such as Katherine Johnson who helped NASA fly people to the moon. And Further Education establishments should find ways to entice girls into IT.

But what can businesses do to attract more females into these traditionally male dominated roles and sectors?

     •   Get your recruitment right
     •   Avoid ticklist job ads
     •   Female-friendly interview
     •   Diversity-first website

Last year there were around 600,000 unfilled tech job vacancies in the UK, alongside a shortfall of women leaving university with appropriate qualifications. The UK’s tech industry is therefore facing the dual challenge of hiring employees with much-needed skills and narrowing the gender gap in an overwhelmingly male sector.

Workplace parity will only be achieved when ability, experience, attitude and passion is the deciding factor in determining who is the best person for the job – not who will fit in with the IT stereotype of ‘boys and geeks.’

Are you interested in a career in tech or looking for your next role? Get in touch with our specialist teams for a chat about our services today! You can also sign up to our Women in Tech meetup group here.

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