<img src="https://secure.leadforensics.com/133892.png" alt="" style="display:none;">

Where are all the women in tech? Research by PwC suggests just 15 per cent of current employees in STEM roles are women. 

At this time of year, with International Women’s Day now a prominent date in the diary, many businesses are keen to voice their support for women in technology and celebrate the success of their female employees. But this should be a constant, year-round mindset. To this day, women remain under-represented in technology roles in business and can face barriers when trying to break into the market. This is not just at the point of entry -recent surveys point out that over 60% of women in IT feel they’ve been held back because of their gender.

Tackling the industry obstacles of today

Certainly, in my career, I’ve had experiences where I haven’t been given the same opportunities as my male colleagues and have had to work harder to prove my worth - often by taking the jobs no one wanted. I also haven’t been given the same title and recognition as my counterparts, for me, this made me even more determined to succeed.

Businesses can and should do more to eliminate these barriers - unconscious or otherwise - and create opportunities for women in the tech sector. Businesses must drive sustained employee engagement and involvement in corporate initiatives to promote women in technology. But it needs to go beyond this. They should take the lead in local communities to encourage girls to learn technical skills from an early age.

Addressing the problem at the source  

Central to addressing the gender gap is the need to start nurturing an interest for STEM at an early age - an area I am passionately involved in. Girls are less likely to study STEM subjects at school, and far more likely to lose interest at an early age than boys. This is why it is particularly important for us to dispel the myth that STEM careers are just for boys and avoid discouraging girls from following these rewarding career paths.

At Columbus UK, we’ve explored several outreach programmes to encourage young girls to pursue an interest in STEM fields and develop technical skills. These include gifting a careers site to 10 schools where they can learn vital personal skills such as confidence building and leadership, as well as options for careers within the tech sector. Donating laptops and other technology to support technical learning in schools, presenting at school assemblies, running workshops where children get hands-on with tech and inviting classes to our UK headquarters to meet women in the tech sector and discuss their experiences, as well as encouraging ‘code clubs’ where girls can learn skills valued across the entire tech sector are all initiatives we have been doing.

It's a work in progress

Can we, as an industry, take our efforts further? Absolutely. Rather than these initiatives being planned by top management and then simply announced to staff, businesses should encourage employees to be ambassadors and take on their own initiatives, to support ongoing challenges facing both women and diversity as a whole.

These areas can then be addressed by rolling out further initiatives such as mentorship schemes, where staff across a variety of roles can meet regularly with mentees to encourage and share experiences and support people to build confidence as they grow in their roles.

Ultimately, we all need a diverse team that bring different views to the table in order to deliver more innovative ideas and results. It is critical that we have women of all ages and cultures across the business to push boundaries and input new ideas. Indeed, as McKinsey has reported, businesses that embrace diversity are more competitive and more successful - those in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.

Tackle the skills gap

Here’s another opportunity. As the world becomes increasingly digitised and connected, there is a rising demand for a more technically skilled workforce. Many CEO's are claiming they are struggling to find suitably talented employees. This represents a huge chance for women to excel in an industry they might have traditionally avoided. Businesses should be eager to tap into this talent pool by not only recruiting and promoting talented women in technology but training and upskilling others that are keen to break into tech fields. There are numerous opportunities here, ranging from month-long ‘boot-camps’ to internal incentives for upskilling employees looking to change career path.

Most importantly, the technology sector provides women with unique, flexible opportunities to retrain, come back after children, or start a different career path. Smart, passionate women can and will succeed given the opportunity.

More work to be done - act now and reap the rewards

In the future, I fully expect to see equal representation for men, women and all cultures - genuine diversity across the business, particularly with greater female representation at board level and in leadership roles. With this in place, the technology space will have a more balanced, innovative perspective that supports the workforce, and drives change even faster and more effectively.

With a sustained approach to encourage women into technology and then support their career and skill developments, we can begin to narrow the gender gap in the tech sector. Businesses must play a central role in this effort, not only to help the wider industry take a major step to address both skills and gender gaps, but to also demonstrate they are serious about supporting the career aspirations of their own staff and women looking to succeed in the technology world.

Topics

Discuss this post

Recommended posts

As the name suggests, digital transformation is about using the power of technology to drive business transformation. But there’s more. For your business’ digital transformation to be a success, you must also work on the overall picture of business transformation. In other words, adopting the right mindset and culture where your new digital tech will thrive.
Previously, we discussed the relationship between value creation and digital transformation (and how the two rely on each other). But how do you actually create that value which is so often intangible? In today’s post, we’ll discuss the top ways to create value and how to build value as part of your overall innovation strategy.
Digital transformation is about transformation that’s driven by digital technology. In everyday life, this could be the rise of smartphones and apps. Think along the lines of Google Maps, Uber and search engines. For businesses, it’s using digital technology to improve existing processes and systems or change the way the company operates, with the ultimate aim of boosting customer or shareholder value.
Since Dynamics 365 and its range of cloud-native ERP and CRM products were released in 2016, there’s been a lot of buzz in the market. If you haven’t yet embarked on a cloud migration project to take your legacy AX platform to the cloud-based Dynamics 365, here’s why you should:
The reality is that 70% of transformations fail to deliver on expectations simply because they are not really transformative. Upgrading back-office ERP systems, creating new digital experiences, or moving legacy apps to the cloud are not digital business transformations. Rather these are short-lived business differentiators – your competitors will quickly catch up.
right-arrow share search phone phone-filled menu filter envelope envelope-filled close checkmark caret-down arrow-up arrow-right arrow-left arrow-down