International Women's Day 2017: Meet the UK women ruling the tech industry

Image credit: International Women's Day

QA, the UK’s leading technology training and apprenticeship organisation, which trains over 200,000 delegates each year and has placed over 10,000 young people into tech apprenticeships at top organisations, has created a film for International Women's Day to inspire women into technology careers.

Last week QA uncovered a survey of over 80 women currently working in technology jobs within both public and private sector organisations that showed nearly half were actively discouraged from starting a career in the technology sector.

• 50 per cent of women in tech were actively discouraged from entering into a technology career by people close to them
• 76 per cent did not view technology as an attractive career path at school but almost 100 per cent of them have enjoyed an exciting career in tech 
• 80 per cent of women think that there need to be more role models in tech
• Post-Brexit faces a chronic digital skills shortage. Lack of gender diversity will contribute to this issue.

This worrying revelation is highly conceivable, as women represent just 17 per cent of all technology roles within the UK*. This figure has remained flat during the past few years and shows that there are no significant improvements on the gender imbalance within technology, the fastest growing sector. If the influencers are dissuading young women from a tech career, this gender disparity will continue if no action is taken.

In order to improve the ratio of women in technology, those surveyed recommended that the industry needs more role models (80 per cent), more tech careers education in schools (79 per cent), and more help from industry (65 per cent) and government (36 per cent), with others asking the TV and film industry to portray gender equality in technology.

In QA’s subtle film, which features women from across the technology industry, 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. It also features the dedication and passion of a single mum of three children who is a cyber-security expert and part-time cyber-security Masters student. The iconic Dame Stephanie Shirley also gives her view on what women bring to technology roles, having set-up the world’s first all-female software company in the 1960s.

Shirley said: “It is so much easier for women now to get into technology careers given the opportunities available to them, such as apprenticeships, traineeships, intensive training programmes offered by the industry, and many other schemes and initiatives. Women need to know that they are just as suited to technology jobs as men. My ultimate wish for the industry is that it eventually becomes gender free and we hope QA’s video encourages women to see that technology is for anybody who is passionate about the potential of technology.”

*BCS/Tech Partnership Women in IT survey 2016, available upon request. 

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