Majority of women say there needs to be more role models in tech
A survey completed by over 80 women who currently work in technology jobs, within both public and private sector organisations, has shown that nearly half of those women were actively discouraged from starting a career in tech.
This worrying revelation in a survey from QA, a UK technology training and apprenticeship organisation, is underlined by the fact that women represent just 17% of all technology roles, within the UK [BCS/Tech Partnership Women in IT survey, 2016]. 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, said QA.
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.
Bill Walker, CTO at QA, said: “It is shocking that nearly 80%, a huge percentage of women, within the sample, were actively discouraged from starting a tech career, by people that they trust. Luckily, these ones made it through into the industry, but there will be many who haven’t and are missing out. It makes sense that over 40% of women in tech roles started a career in a different field, having been discouraged by those close to them. With the sector growing, and with women representing just 17% of all IT roles, unless action is taken to change the perceptions of technology, improvements in gender disparity won’t be made.
“Of the women in our sample 76% didn’t see technology as an attractive career path at school, but almost 100% of them have enjoyed an exciting career in tech with the best aspects being; always learning more, working on tech that helps people’s lives, it’s exciting, good salary and flexible. Girls and women and their influencers need to know this; in order to advise them appropriately.”
QA’s new film to inspire women into technology careers, released for International Women’s Day, 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, as well as the dedication and passion of a single mum of three children who is a cyber security expert and part time cyber security Masters student.
Marta Mendonca, 19, who works at Socially Bright as a software developer, and is a QA technology apprentice, said: “I really enjoyed making this film. It amazes me that so few women are in tech careers, it doesn’t make sense to me. I love my job. I love tech, and I am constantly learning new things and making websites work and function for people and businesses. It’s the coolest job. I really hope that other women reconsider a tech career after seeing this film.”