September 6, 2018
Only three per cent of females see a career in technology as their first choice while less than a third (27%) would even consider a career in tech – compared to 62 per cent of men. The gender pay gap, meanwhile, stands at an alarming 19 per cent within the tech industry alone.
These stats are shocking to say the least.
But it isn’t just coders or developers that are hit by this bias. We see it creeping into industries that work with technology companies as well.
In PR and communications, where women make up 66% of the workforce globally, the pay gap still stands at 21%. There’s a reason for this: a study from the GWPR showed that over 75% of CEOs in the top 30 global PR agencies are men, and that men hold 62% of seats on PR boardroom tables.
To close the skills gap and boost overall business productivity, the industry needs to first focus on closing the gender gap.
The skills gap – and how to solve it
With such rapid growth comes a number of issues. Employers are struggling to keep up with the rate of change and find candidates with the relevant attributes to plug skills gaps. A recent survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found that £63 billion GDP is lost annually simply because of a lack of digital skills. The gender gap and the skills gap are inextricably linked: as more women are shut out of opportunities to enter the technology field, we are missing out on key workers who could help close this gap. Women are just as equipped as men are to fulfil these roles, but often need encouragement from a young age to understand their potential in technology.
In fact, research by McKinsey found that firms in the top quartile for gender diversity are 21 per cent more likely to deliver above-average profitability than those companies in the bottom quartile – highlighting the simple fact that we can no longer afford to have women sitting on the sidelines.
It is evident that the problem is not going to solve itself. So how can we shine a light on the issue, inspire women into tech and kick companies into action?
How can we make real change happen?
Action is necessary. We all have a responsibility to force change, in business, policy and education. From sharing best practice, creating female role models, and tackling stereotypes to promote gender equality in technology, businesses and individuals can – and must – make a difference.
Last year, PwC took a stand against gender bias by launching Tech She Can, an industry charter created to increase the number of women working in technology. It aims to empower women and equip them with the tools they need to pursue careers in tech.
LEWIS has decided to take charge on this front by signing up to Tech She Can. Earlier this year we pledged to the Charter and have been working closely with PwC to effect real change ever since.
Waiting until women are entering the workforce is simply too late. We need to take action to inspire girls to consider technology roles while they are still at school. Promoting visible and relatable role models is a huge part of this, as it gives women a tangible inspiration, something to work towards with the knowledge that it is possible. From creatives and designers, to coders and data scientists, there are successful women working in technology across different levels, spanning different industries. All of this is what Tech She Can aspires to achieve.
As technology becomes ever more influential in our lives, the need to promote inclusivity within the industry continues to grow. Inspiring young women to consider technology roles as a career path is imperative to changing mindsets. There is some great female talent across the technology industry and at LEWIS, but the gender industry ratios will only change if we can break down the early barriers.
We are immensely proud to be pledging our support for The Tech She Can Charter, and we look forward to taking an active role in driving the change.