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WHAT CAN BE DONE TO ATTRACT MORE WOMEN INTO THE TECH INDUSTRY?

Friday 17th June 2016
It is a well-known fact that men far outnumber women in the technology sector and there is research to suggest that the number of women in technology is continuing to fall.

At Microsoft, their engineering and tech departments consist of just 17% women, the same with Google with 17% and just 20% of the tech workforce at Apple is female, with women accounting for 15% across the technology sector as a whole. 

The lack of women entering the profession is a real threat to UK businesses. According to CIO  “Figures from e-Skills show that the profession needs 129,000 new entrants a year up to 2015; we believe at least half of these should be women and our survey of IT professionals shows that 79% believe the IT profession would benefit from having more women working in it.”

What are the factors contributing to the gender gap in the Technology sector? 
Could it be that not enough is being done to attract younger girls to get into I.T an early age? The stereo type still lingers that boys are interested in more technical subjects like science, maths and I.T whereas girls are typically more stimulated by creative subjects such as English and the arts. At a young age a lot of girls maybe avoid being interested in things that are deemed ‘boyish’ in hopes of fitting in with their peers. This is could be unfortunately contributing to the number of women studying technology related degrees and entering the tech sector.

The fact that IT departments are heavily dominated by male employees could be putting women off from joining those departments. The lack of women can intimidate women into entering a profession where they may feel outnumbered or like outsiders.  The lack of women in the industry also means that there is a real lack of women mentors who can guide other women and motivate them.

A perceived Lack of effective promotion of the range of different roles available within the technology sector could be another factor.  Not all roles in IT are purely technical and the range would appeal to different skill sets - Programmers, DBA’s Testers, Business Analysts, Project Managers, etc.

Some factors aren’t detracting women from entering the industry but are driving women to leave earlier once they enter. Meaning a lot of women in I.T may not have a long career in the sector as appose to some men.

A potential reason women in the I.T sector are leaving the industry could be that there is a perceived lack of leniency from tech firms in their approach to flexible working and their maternity leave offering. This could be putting some women off as they feel that their position isn’t secure if they choose to have a baby or that they may not be supported if they wish for more flexibility on returning to work.

It has also been suggested that there is element of sexism in the I.T. With men being offered higher wages than women in exactly the same role, but the man is getting paid for to £10,000 more.

Having more women on board in the I.T sector could really benefit the I.T industry ‘with a diverse mix in the working population, the UK IT sector can capitalism on the promise of additional profits that diversity can bring.

How can more women be attracted to the industry?
Could things be set to change? September 2014 marked the entrance of ‘coding’ to the UK school curriculum as part of drive to increase uptake on STEM (Science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects. With more students, male and female, having access to these skills in future could see more of a diversely talents I.T workforce.

Another way more women could be driven to the I.T industry could be if more time was invested in communication and marketing at hiring technology companies so women are exposed to how great working for a technology organisation could be. Which in turn could mean more women and students are attracted to a career in I.T.

Successful women in technology could also be encouraged by their workplace to speak up about the positive and beneficial factors that come with working in the technology sector. Especially at careers fairs at schools and universities when students are making decisions as to what career sector they would like to move in to. This could in turn see a rise in the number of women in technology.

We would be interested to hear your thoughts on this subject. How can we get more women in the industry? 

Please tweet us your thoughts at @AmsourceTech .
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