The UK will need another one million tech workers by 2020 to meet its growing digital skills gap according to the latest statistics by London Tech Advocates.
A Tech City report revealed one million digital jobs were advertised last year – but more than 45,000 were left unfilled.
Of the current population, 49.6 per cent are female. Yet just 17 per cent of employees in the UK tech sector are women. Why is the UK tech industry failing to capitalise on such a large existing resource? Why are women reluctant to start a career in tech?
In an industry which is largely male dominated, it is easy to see why women can it find it intimidating to integrate. Changing any corporate culture is a challenge, but companies need to wake up to the idea that women are a strategic asset. There is a growing body of research showing organisations that nurture gender diversity experience tangible improvements to their revenue and adaptability.
In a study called “Is Gender Diversity Profitable? Evidence from a Global Survey“, researchers found a “positive correlation between the proportion of women in corporate leadership and firm profitability.” These findings were echoed in a survey published in a Peterson Institute for International Economics working paper of 22,000 firms from around the world. The survey shows that firms that went from no female corporate leadership to a 30 percent female share were associated with a one percent increase in net margin – a 15 percent increase in profitability for a typical firm.
In the world of tech, gender diversity can positively impact innovation too. Collaborating with individuals of different genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, and race leads to increased innovation and enhanced problem-solving. Consider Artificial Intelligence (AI) – if tech is developed with only male personas, then AI software will be biased to the way males think and operate.
As the industry starts to better understand the transformative potential of a female tech work force, why should women consider training for a career in tech?
Pace of change
There has never been a better time for women to seek a career in tech. The pace of change will never be less than exciting, and tech is a broad industry that means opportunities for job change and career advancement are rife. While technology remains a male dominated field, being a woman in tech gives women the opportunity to stand out from others and be recognised and rewarded for their talent and work ethic. Other perks? The opportunity to be on the cutting edge of new products, techniques, and technologies. Working in tech is never boring.
Help is here
The first step will always be the hardest, but there are more initiatives than ever to draw women into technology and support them in training. A number of specialist training academies have been created to nurture new graduates, teach up-to-date digital skills and support young women entering the tech industry.
We are signatories of the UK Tech Talent Charter, an organisation bringing together industries and organisations to drive diversity and address gender imbalance in technology roles. We also work closely with organisations such as Code First:Girls, volunteering our academy space for workshops for young women wanting to learn to code for the first time.
Now the tech industry is taking steps to employ more women in key technical roles, it is crucial the women are there to fill the new positions. If you are a women looking to work an industry where you have the potential to change the world – an adventure in tech is what you are looking for.
About the author
Purnima Sen is Operations and People Director at graduate IT training and services provider Sparta Global. With a career in technology spanning more than two decades, Purnima is dedicated to helping Sparta Global provide expert tech training for graduates to bridge the growing digital skills gap.