Software developer Magma Digital has warned that gender imbalance in the tech industry could continue to get worse in the future.
The lack of women, particularly women of colour, in the technology industry has gained considerable attention in the last few years, with many companies committing to addressing the issue.
However, despite these intentions, the gender imbalance in the industry remains, with just 23% of the skilled workforce in STEM industries being female, and women making up just 5% of leadership positions.
This comes at a time when the industry faces a growing skills gap, with the European Commission predicting that there could be up to 756,000 infilled jobs in the IT sector in Europe by 2020.
It is therefore vital that companies attract and recruit from a wider pool of individuals, but according to a study by PWC, only 3% of women see a job in the tech industry as their first choice for a career.
Addressing gender imbalance in the tech industry
Carrie Nestor, operations director at Magma Digital believes that male-dominated environments could be deterring female candidates:
“The tech sector is one of the key planks of our economy, and vital to future growth of both the UK and the regions. One way to really drive growth in the sector is to develop more talent, and encouraging more females into the profession would help achieve this.
“The problem we have at the moment is, despite the industry being in upward growth with skills shortages, and roles which command higher than average salaries, it is not seen as a desirable profession for women, largely because it is male dominated, and perceived as a ‘techy’ job. This is a challenge and something we really need to address.”
The organisation, based in the North West of England, believes that the gender imbalance in the tech industry could continue to get worse if not fully addressed. Re-thinking traditional A-Levels in favour of skills-based alternatives could be one way of doing this, while also addressing the skills gap.
“Our county, Lancashire is at the forefront of implementing T Level qualifications, and digital skills will be a focus of the new qualifications. This means we do have the opportunity to inspire young talent both male and female to follow a digital skills route, and this could help encourage higher levels of female techies pursuing degrees and a careers in the industry.
“This needs to be combined with a more concerted effort from both industry and education to change perceptions of the sector and provide inspiration and opportunities for females to go into tech.”