New research from Tech City UK has revealed that despite the widening digital skills gap, a tech career is top of the wish list for young men but women are still falling short of interest.
The Tech City UK report found that over a third (36%) of male respondents looked to work in the technology sector in the future, however the comparison for women was significantly different. According to the report only 13% of female respondents said they aspire to uptake a career in technology.
The findings suggested that a lack of skills, alongside lack of self-assurance led women to choose other career paths than technology. Young women participating in the survey admitted that they do not believe they ‘have what it takes’ for a career in technology. Almost half (45%) of female respondents claim to not have the skills to work in technology, with 38% saying they lack the knowledge about the technology.
Looking at the statistics from the industry today, the report revealed that almost three quarters (70%) of technology workers are male and a third are female. In comparison, 50% young men who avoid a career in technology attribute the reason to other areas being more interesting.
“As the technology industry itself becomes more diverse, attracting more female entrepreneurs, coders, engineers, and investors, there are more and more role models for young women to aspire to. It is clear that more must be done, both by the technology industry, and in schools, to show young women that they are more than capable of excelling in this industry,” Dr George Windsor, Senior Insights Manage at Tech City UK said.
“Tech City UK was created to help raise the profile of technology, foster new talent, and support the UK’s digital ecosystem, and we will continue to work tirelessly to engage young people. But we must all work together to accelerate the pace of change.”
In the existing technology industry the lack of female representatives is not set to better, as the younger generation is not adopting a better attitude to the industry. The report found that almost three quarters (74%) of 15-16 year olds that aspire to take up a career in technology are male. Therefore, it is clear the industry is lacking communication with young females.
The repercussions of the lack of skills set in the industry could significantly impact the UK’s digital economy, which the country has worked so hard to build up.
Across all favoured careers, the report found that technology was ranked third by 24% of respondents. This followed behind law, medicine and accounting for 28% of respondents and being an entrepreneur for a quarter. Aspiring technology individuals described the benefits to working in the industry that appealed to them.
The prospect of the nature of the tech industry being fast paced and exciting was the highest benefit, which 55% of respondents agreed with. Just behind, 54% of respondents felt the industry offers interesting jobs and half revealed pay has a large impact on choosing the industry. Finally, working for large companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook also impacts the decision to work in the technology world.
“It is heartening to see that technology remains a popular career choice for many young people. If our digital ecosystem is to thrive, it needs to engage the best and brightest minds of the next generation,” said Windsor.
There are currently initiatives in place to help encourage more people to take up a career in technology, including men as well as women. The UK Government has launched new projects including free digital training opportunities with over £4m being ploughed into the project. The aim of the initiative is to make Britain a world leader in the Digital Economy, now and in the future.