According to the LinkedIn 2016 Global Talent Trends Report, only 30% of the technology industry’s workforce is comprised of women. In an age where technology is central to many aspects of everyone’s daily lives, it may seem surprising that women are still underrepresented in the industry.
Despite many companies championing the clear business benefits of workforce diversity, the sector is still male dominated, especially at senior level. McKinsey & Company states that women make up only 19% of tech senior vice presidents and just 15% of CEOs.
A recent study conducted by Accenture and Girls Who Code found that the gender gap in computing is getting worse. It concluded that unless a broad strategy is introduced to encourage girls’ interest in computing in middle school and college, the percentage of women in computing could fall to 22% in 2025.
>See also: Women in IT Awards 2017: winners revealed
To mark this year’s International Girls in ICT Day – an awareness day dedicated to encouraging girls to consider careers in IT – this article will look at insights from three industry professionals to explain why the technology industry needs to inspire the next generation, and how girls can get more involved in technology.
Marianne Calder, VP & MD for EMEA at Puppet on how to shift the gender gap
“As vice president of Puppet in EMEA, I see it as one of my responsibilities to inspire future generations to become technology leaders regardless of gender, race, background or preference. Having spent many years in the technology space, I personally love working in the dynamic and fast paced environment, and the constant push for innovation is exciting to me.
“At Puppet, we’re committed to the inclusion of all people. Everyone can have a positive impact to create a meaningful shift in the gender gap. As someone with a passion for technology, if I could offer advice to anyone interested in pursuing a career in tech it would be to seek out STEM activities (Science Technology Engineering and Math) and internship experiences. They will give you a good foundational sense of what it will take to be successful in the industry and provide an opportunity to develop skills necessary to work in a business environment.”
Jillian Mansolf, CCO at Xirrus on the importance of encouraging the study of STEM subjects
“I’ve had the pleasure to work with a variety of inspirational leaders in IT and there is no doubt that diversity in teams always enhances the creative process and achieves the best results. While it is wonderful to see more young women pursuing engineering and IT-related degrees, there is still ample room to encourage study at earlier stages of education and to make sure that – both girls and boys – have the support they need to pursue learning science, math and technology.”
Victoria Grey, CMO at Nexsan on the benefits of diversity in the workplace
“The technology industry is well known for being a male dominated environment, which is a shame because I think a diverse industry is the starting point for exceptional innovation and development as new perspectives can encourage out of the box thinking and creativity. As technology leaders, it is important that we encourage the next generation of girls to embark on a career in ICT and take steps to remedy the lack of females in the industry and guarantee a more diverse and innovative workforce in the future.”
Lack of diversity will continue to be a hot topic across the technology sector, but with a range of business leaders – male and female – determined to close the gap, the outlook may not be as bleak as figures suggest.
Some of the world’s largest companies, such as Facebook and Apple, have stated they have closed the gender pay gap for their employees. Salesforce recently announced it had spent around $6 million to address the problem.
The responsibility lies with companies and education leaders to encourage more students to pursue STEM subjects. This will gradually lead to a mix of voices in companies, and therefore allow better discussions and decisions. Male or female, we must all continue to promote diversification in the technology industry.
Sourced by Touchdown PR
Nominations are now open for the Tech Leaders Awards 2017, the UK’s flagship celebration of the business, IT and digital leaders driving disruptive innovation and demonstrating value from the application of technology in businesses and organisations. Nominating is free and simply: just click here to enter. Good luck!