Young women less likely to go for tech career
YOUNG women are much less likely than men to have set their sights on a career in tech, research has found.
Tech City UK found only 30 per cent of young people keen to work in the centre were women.
The study, sponsored by Hays Digital Technology, found 45 per cent of young women did not believe they had the skills to work in technology, while 38 per cent reported lack of knowledge and 24 per cent aid it was “not for people like them”.
Leila Willingham, 18, account executive with Liz Lean PR, set up its brand Digipigz to give businesses insights into the ‘generation Z’ demographic.
She said: “As a generation typically so accepting of differences and as martyrs for equality, it’s saddening that the general consensus among young women is that this whole industry is off limits.
“I don’t think I’d be wrong in saying that most young people today believe that it isn’t our age, gender, sex, race that defines our ability to pursue a career or complete a task. We need to get young girls (and boys) into these workplaces, educate them on what a career in tech is really like so they can make educated choices.
“I hate to think girls could be avoiding a dream job because they don’t feel good enough for the role, so something has to change. Personally, I feel it’s really important for young people to feel like they have the confidence to get in and get started in any industry. That’s why I founded Digipigz and I feel lucky that I have that outlet to make a difference so that statistics like the one we’ve seen this week don’t reappear in years to come.”
Matt Horan, security director for cyber-security company C3IA Solutions in Poole, said: “I know that GCHQ have long been aware that women are underrepresented in the industry.
“And the cyber consultancy sector is traditionally male-dominated and there are reasons for this; perhaps to do with women just not seeing it as a career that they could enter into because it hasn’t been promoted to them.
“But women are just as capable, intelligent and technically aware as men, the National Cyber Security Centre has recognised this and has a number of existing and developing programmes running to bring more women into the sector; whether that be at the school age or for more mature woman looking for a second career.”
Peter Phillips, chief executive and founder of Bournemouth-based online firm Unicorn Training, said: "I'm sure there is plenty of research and even more opinions on the nature vs nurture debate, but based on the empirical evidence at Unicorn there is no difference in skills and ability between male and female in the same tech roles.
"It is true though that we get far more male applicants for jobs such as programming, and more female for creative design roles."
Elizabeth Batley, client services director with Scholar Web Services in Bournemouth, said: "I run an internet service provider along with my colleague who is the tech director (male) and we don't get any female applicants for tech roles. I think give it another 10 years and this will change as the schools are encouraging coding as part of the mainstream curriculum. I can't code to save my life."
Robert Rutherford, chief executive of Bournemouth-based IT consultancy QuoStar, said: “Across all areas of our business, it’s almost impossible to recruit women.”
The survey also found 59 per cent of young people felt there was too little training for those who did not go to university.
Story Courtesy Bournemouth Daily Echo