QA, the UK's leading technology training and apprenticeship organisation, which trains over 200K delegates each year, and placed over 10,000 young people into tech apprenticeships at top organisations, have created a film to inspire women into technology careers, for International Women's Day.
In a recent survey completed by over 80 women who currently work in technology jobs, within both public and private sector organisations, nearly half were found to have been actively discouraged from starting a career in tech. Here are the key findings from the survey:
- 50% of women who work in tech were actively discouraged from entering into a technology career by people close to them
- 76% did not view technology as an attractive career path at school but almost 100% of them have enjoyed an exciting career in tech
- 80% of women say that they think that there need to be more role models in tech
- Post Brexit the UK faces a chronic digital skills shortage - a lack of gender diversity will contribute to this issue
These findings are illustrated by the fact that women represent just 17% of all technology roles, within the UK*. This figure has remained flat, during the past few years, and shows that there are not any significant improvements on the gender imbalance, within the fastest growing sector, technology. If the influencers are dissuading young women from a tech career, this gender disparity will only continue. QA's research showed that in order to improve the ratio of women in tech, those surveyed recommended that the industry needs more role models (80%), more tech careers education in schools (79%), and more help from industry (65%), and government (36%), with others asking the TV and film industry to portray gender equality in technology.
Bill Walker, CTO at QA said "It is shocking that nearly 50%, a huge percentage of women, within the sample, were actively discouraged from starting a tech career, by people that they trust. Luckily, these ones made it through into the industry, but there will be many who haven't and are missing out. It makes sense that over 40% of women in tech roles started a career in a different field, having been discouraged by those close to them. With the sector growing, and with women representing just 17% of all IT roles, unless action is taken to change the perceptions of technology, improvements in gender disparity won't be made."
Dame Stephanie Shirley says "It is so much easier for women now to get into technology careers given the opportunities available to them, such as apprenticeships, traineeships, intensive training programmes offered by the industry, and many other schemes and initiatives. Women need to know that they are just as suited to technology jobs as men. My ultimate wish for the industry is that it eventually becomes gender free and we hope QA's video encourages women to see that technology is for anybody who is passionate about the potential of technology."
Marta Mendonca, 19, who works at Socially Bright as a Software Developer, and is a QA technology apprentice, said "I really enjoyed making this film. It amazes me that so few women are in tech careers, it doesn't make sense to me. I love my job. I love tech, and I am constantly learning new things and making websites work and function for people and businesses. It's the coolest job. I really hope that other women reconsider a tech career after seeing this film."
*BCS/Tech Partnership Women in IT survey, 2016.