20 May 2021
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Gender inequality still remains in tech sector as women struggle to secure roles

By Shannon Williams

Almost a quarter of 16-17 year olds are planning to pursue a career in the technology sector since the pandemic hit, new research has found. 

According to research from Talent Works, 22% of 16-17 year olds have decided to pursue a career in tech, however females are finding it harder (31%) to secure their first tech roles compared to men (21%).

A fifth of all respondents (21%) also felt that tech courses at university do not provide valuable post-degree business insights, emphasising the gap between the university experience and entering their first tech role.

The research found women were more likely to be encouraged by teachers/education (54%) than men (29%), whereas men were more likely to have parents that took STEM subjects (44%) than women (21%)

However, when it came to young professionals ranking their tech education, women were less likely to rank their tech education as very good (17%) compared to men (26%). More than half of women (54%) also rated the guidance they received as poor - neutral compared to only 41% of men.

Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA, Skillsoft, says the results of the research show the gender gap is still alive and well.

"It's great to see an uptake in students pursuing a career in tech, however with females finding it harder to secure their first tech roles, it's clear that gender disparities remain," Nowakowska says.

"There are so many programmes aimed at getting girls interested in these areas, but we need to go further to challenge and eradicate the old fashioned views that are clearly still very much ingrained in the public consciousness.

"That's why the onus is on parents, teachers and business leaders to show that there is a place for girls in STEM they need role models and sponsors to encourage them to take the path."

Nowakowska says organisations should also focus on learning and development efforts for women.

A report by McKinsey Global Institute revealed that around 30% of UK workers face having to transition between occupations or skill levels by 2030 due to technology adoption. 

"So it makes pure business sense for organisations to invest and upskill their female workforce. Helping them to learn a new programming language such as Python, or engage their cloud security skills can support the business, allowing it to flourish and create a culture of innovation."

Leane Parsons, change manager at Node4, says there needs to be more women in leadership roles.

"According to TechNation, 10.1 billion was invested into UK tech companies in 2019, with employment in the sector growing by 40% in comparison to two years prior," Parsons says. 

"But despite this growth, just 30% of these roles are occupied by women. I strongly believe its difficult to fully challenge the inequality in tech until more women are in positions of power within the industry," she says.

"We continue to be led by the top, which is predominantly male, and this feeds into the existing technical landscape slanted towards male audiences."

Parsons says seeing more women in leadership roles and positions of influence will inevitably lead to more women joining the industry, as well as more girls hoping to study an IT or tech related subject at university or in an apprenticeship. 

"This year, I #choosetochallenge gender equality in tech," she says.

"Let's encourage more girls and women to join the tech industry, so we can move from being the outliers, to having equal representation at the table."

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