Jenny-Bell
Jenny Bell - Marketing Manager
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Jenny Bell
Marketing Manager
21 March 2024
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How do we get more women into the tech industry?

female engineer

Summary

  • Only 24% of tech roles are filled by women

  • Our future depends on the next generation leading the way on technology

  • We need to close the gender gap and make the tech sector more inclusive to women

  • Only good things will come from addressing the balance of men and women in tech

  • The world of tech is very exciting & set to become more so – calling all women!

 

Women make up around 50% of the UK workforce yet in tech, only 24% of roles are filled by women. We know most of it is historic, that women used to do ‘softer’ caring roles and weren’t typically attracted to STEM subjects. And I really hoped that was changing.

However, recently, my youngest daughter, who is currently studying Computer Science at GCSE, decided studying to A Level wasn’t an option. When I asked her why, she said it’s mainly being outnumbered by boys which puts her off. Our next generation expects more balance, and more gender equality – quite rightly – but it is a shock when this isn’t always reflected in reality. Thankfully after a lot of persuasion and a wider context of leading the way for other girls like her and the vast opportunity of future roles in this sector with the introduction of AI, she has decided to continue to study Computer Science at A Level. Are we really in 2024 and still facing the same issues I did when at school?

So, how do we break the cycle? How do we get more women into tech roles?

I did an IT degree, went into marketing, and worked in various sectors from finance to manufacturing before coming back to the tech sector. During my 20-year career, I’ve often been the token woman in senior management meetings. I know that for some that can be intimidating if you feel you don’t get heard as easily as a man.

I’m not sure the answer is positive discrimination because it can create more barriers. 50 per cent of our board is made up of women which is rare in the boardroom, and that is a credit to how hard my female colleagues have worked to reach this level.

I work for Claritas, a Wetherby-based IT company, and whilst our 50/50 split at board level is to be celebrated, we still struggle at lower levels in our organisation to have a better gender balance. We want to change this and with insights from our HR team, it transpired that training and education weren’t the issue, we simply don’t get job applications from many women.

Jenny Bell with daughter

We have been recruiting in recent months for various roles and not a single application from a female.

So for us, the issue is earlier in the process.

So then perhaps we need to encourage tech education at a younger age. Showcase jobs of the future and demonstrate where the world is going and the jobs that will come with it. The world of tech is very exciting – there is AI, automation and cloud applications to get inspired with and there will always be a need for humans with initiative and ideas driving it.

Or do we need to look at funding for STEM courses and for example, do post-grad conversion courses like the UK Government did as a recruitment drive for teachers in the early 2000s?

I’m not sure what the answer is but we are very willing to work with the community and education institutions if they have suggestions. I’d really like to think in another twenty years the landscape will have changed and perhaps we’ll be closer to 50% of the industry being made up of women.