16 Jul Why does the tech industry still have a gender imbalance?
New analysis by Forward Role highlights the gender disparity in the tech industry and offers insights into why it is still male-dominated and how educators and employers can change this.
While it has long been known that the tech industry is lacking in female employees, with the gender pay gap, inclusion and diversity becoming front of mind for the media and employers alike, it is surprising that only 19% of people working in the tech industry are women. Women are underrepresented at all levels, but especially in senior management, with just 12.6% of board members in tech companies.The UK technology sector is growing substantially, currently 2.6 times faster than the overall UK economy. It employs 1.1 million people and it was worth £184 billion in 2018. So why aren’t there more women working in tech?While FTSE 100 businesses have achieved 30% female representation, tech companies are lagging behind at 12.6%. In addition, the industry is facing sector-specific skills gaps: more than 70% of technology employers have experienced skills shortages this year, and almost a quarter of these expect the shortage to greatly impact their recruitment.Marketing, digital and technology recruitment firm Forward Role spoke to a number of women about their experiences within the tech industry. Grant Dove, IT recruitment lead at Forward Role, said: “With the digital skills shortage and strong industry growth, it’s now more important than ever to address the industry’s gender imbalance if we want to continue to grow, innovate and evolve.“We all have to work hard to encourage more diversity and grow our industry into one that we can be really proud of as it changes and evolves. There will be many barriers to overcome in the next few years, but the future looks bright for women in tech.”
Education level disparity
Forward Role has found that the tech gender divide goes back further than just employment. It begins at an education level and more needs to be done to encourage girls to find tech subjects appealing. While there has been a shift in young men accessing traditionally female-dominated sectors, this hasn’t happened in those male-dominated industries, such as computer science, technology and digital. In fact, only 20% of those taking computer science at GCSE level are girls. While at university, this trend continues, with computer science having 13,085 more male students than female.To combat this, UnionLearn has recommended that schools should promote apprenticeships as an option for all and challenge traditional gender stereotyping from an early stage:
- There should be more targeted support and careers guidance for young women from school age upwards
- There should be more taster courses and work experience for young people before they decide on their chosen apprenticeship
- There should be more visits for young women to male-dominated workplaces