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Digital solutions engineer Kelly Shungu outlined in her HeadTalk the current gender disparity in the technology industry, its roots, and the even greater disparity facing minorities, while recounting her own experiences and those of others. She listed UK organisations providing inspiration and helping to redress the balance, and described the strategies that tech companies can adopt to achieve the same.

This Insight highlights some of the key points and potential solutions. View the HeadTalk in full:

Although things have improved…

Studies in the early 2000s found that only 9% of all UK tech jobs were held by women. This was despite women having played an important and pioneering role in the development of computer science.

…current statistics still point to a pronounced gender gap in tech

2023 statistics reveal that still only 26% of UK tech jobs are held by women, so there are still barriers and a clear disparity. This figure places the UK well below Iceland for example, where 45% of all tech jobs are held by women.

Regarding current UK tech leadership roles, over three quarters are held by men, reflecting, and likely reinforcing, a gender disparity in career progression.

The statistics for minorities are even more startling, for example only 0.7% of current tech jobs are held by black women.

Such disparity begins with the aspirations of the young

The tech gender imbalance is reflected in attitudes at school age that inevitably shape career aspirations: according to the recent research highlighted by Kelly, only 3% of girls are considering a career in tech, compared to 15% of boys.

No doubt knowledge of workplace disparity and low expectation of career progression contribute to a belief among many girls that a tech career is not for them.

Clear strategies exist for tech companies to address disparity

To assist career aspirations, education outreach in primary and secondary schools by industry representatives can provide information on the opportunities available for girls in the technology sector and inspire them to pursue such a career.

Tech companies can implement unbiased recruitment practices that understand, acknowledge, and attempt to eliminate unconscious biases based on gender, race, or disability.

Tech companies can develop a more inclusive culture, for example by encouraging networking within the company and in the wider technology space and by organising cross-cultural events.

Similarly, companies can make increased use of mentoring programs to ensure that everyone has an equal prospect of furthering their career in tech.

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