It’s only through a mixture of backgrounds, skills and views that these businesses can innovate and scale in the very competitive tech market. However, with only 17% of tech roles taken by women, this is a challenge the industry must address – and fast!
Encouraging more girls to take STEM subjects and pursue technical careers from when they are in school, will prove fundamental for the continued success of the sector. But, too frequently this is seen as a priority for larger organisations and government, rather than smaller tech businesses.
Research shows that while women are increasingly aware of the availability of technology careers, half believe the roles are ‘unexciting’. These figures - strongly backed by the lack of women working in tech - are alarming! The absence of inspiration as well as examples of how exhilarating and creative technology careers are, contribute to these damaging stereotypes that working in tech is boring.
More than two-thirds of women believe that roles in tech mainly link to gaming and IT consultancy. This is an inaccurate reflection of the true variety of roles open to people in tech. However, there is good news, in that the movement to change the misconceptions has already begun.
Take The Tech She Can Charter for example - a campaign by PwC which aims to encourage organisations to increase the number of women within technology careers throughout the UK. This kind of campaign by a leading business consultancy makes a huge difference and is a movement welcomed by Buzzacott. We firmly believe that organisations of all sizes should look for ways to diversify their talent.
Alongside these kind of schemes to change misconceptions and show women how exciting tech actually is, we also need to showcase the brilliant women already changing the industry.
Take people like Anne-Marie Imafidon, the youngest female to pass A-level computing – ever. At just 20 years old, she received her degree from the University of Oxford. Anne-Marie has now gone on to co-found STEMettes, another great initiative to inspire young women in STEM. Equally, the tech community must come together to support women already working within and leading tech businesses; in 2017, only 9% of VC funding went to women-led start-ups.
Buzzacott is making positive strides to ensure that we’re employing the best talent throughout the business and currently have a workforce split of 52% women and 48% men. We’re proud of this figure and are benefitting tremendously from the value that having a diverse workforce brings. The hope now is that the entire tech community will take bolder steps to make a stand and reach out to girls. A change in perception will only happen if we give women the confidence to pursue and commit to these types of careers. It’s only by actively engaging and supporting women in the long term that the tech community can enable businesses to grow from start-ups to scale ups and beyond.