Nearly 100% of 250 women cited a lack of confidence or imposter syndrome as a major barrier to entering tech, according to new research by Tech Returners.

The report reaffirms that confidence issues are largely situational and calls on businesses to take a proactive approach to making women feel more empowered in their roles. 

Around 78% of respondents also answered that they would like their businesses and organisations to provide more wellbeing support as well as career mentoring. 

Computer Weekly also reported this week that the number of women in the UK’s tech sector has been steadily declining throughout 2023, seeing over 3000 women leaving the industry. 

One major theme that Tech Returner’s report identified was that there is a distinct lack of female role models to coach younger women as they enter the sector. 

Some women in technology shared their own experiences of tech’s male dominance with Verdict

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By GlobalData

Smart Green Shipping founder and CEO Diane Gilpin explained that throughout her career, Gilpin is still frequently the only woman in a room full of men. 

Speaking on her treatment as a woman in technology, Gilpin stated that a government agency appointed mentor once told Gilpin that she “would never be recognised as a CEO of a tech company” and instructed her to write so simply that her “mother-in-law would understand.” 

Following this, Gilpin made an official complaint to the government body and her experiences inspired her to help more girls into the industry. Alongside fellow female colleagues Gilpin regularly works with local primary schools to develop classroom projects about how tech can create more diverse job postings. 

Experiencing first-hand the positive experience of mentorship is Jasmine Gillard, an Infrastructure and Cloud Consultant at Pentest People. 

Gillard says that she started her career feeling like she had very little experience of the industry compared to the people around her. 

“Every day I heard so much jargon,” she describes, “It was like listening to a new language.” 

To try and suppress this overwhelming feeling, Gillard explained that she was constantly taking notes and using every night to research. In the early days of her career, she felt like she was constantly trying to “catch up” to her coworker’s knowledge level. 

When her mentor began to praise her performance, Gillard was stunned. 

After realising that she was the recipient of her mentor’s praise, Gillard explained that she could not believe it. 

She has since been shortlisted for a ‘Rising Star of the Year’ award in the Women in Tech excellence awards.

Gillard’s experience with mentorship and Gilpin’s actions should not be alone. 

Tech Returners’ report emphasises that the onus is also on businesses to empower women to join the tech sector, and it should not be solely women supporting themselves throughout their careers. 

GlobalData’s own research suggests a fundamental lack of proper ESG policies, with only 5.7% of businesses naming ESG as a near-term focus. 

 According to GlobalData’s job analytics over 55.6k diversity and inclusion hires were made across multiple industries within the last 6 months. 

Technology was the third largest sector in diversity hiring, but if long-term career mentorship is not provided within companies, women’s confidence will continue to struggle within male-dominated workplaces. 

The study was conducted by Sage, Reframe Women in Tech and Tech Returners. The findings will be discussed at an upcoming Reframe Women in Tech conference this September.