International Women's Day 2017: Meet the UK women ruling the tech industry
Published: 08 Mar 2017 By Georgina Bloomfield
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.
Last week, QA uncovered, within a survey completed by over 80 women who currently work in technology jobs, within both public and private sector organisations - that nearly half of women were actively discouraged from starting a career in tech.
• 50% women 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 faces a chronic digital skills shortage. Lack of gender diversity will contribute to this issue.
This worrying revelation is highly conceivable, shown 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, without action being taken.
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.
In QA’s subtle film, which features women from across the technology industry, it sets out to dispel the myth that technology jobs are just for men. QA hopes that it inspires women to come forward for the incredible technology career development programmes, and job opportunities that are available, to both men and women, across the UK, no matter what their level of technology experience is.
The short film captures the energy of a highly academic teenager who opted for a QA Software Development apprenticeship instead of university and works within a South London web design agency. Also, the dedication and passion, of a single mum of three children who is a cyber security expert and part-time cyber security Masters student. The iconic Dame Stephanie Shirley also provides her view on what women bring to technology roles, having set-up the world’s first all-female software company, in the 1960’s.
Dame Stephanie Shirley, ‘Steve’, 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”.
*BCS/Tech Partnership Women in IT survey, 2016, available upon request.