It is no secret that the pandemic has accelerated the rate of digital uptake in organisations across the globe.  Tech Nation’s latest Jobs and Skills report states that UK tech employs 2.93m people, with growth rocketing by 40%  in the last two years. In particular, digital tech has seen a 36% increase in vacancies from June to August 2020, second only to healthcare for the number of jobs advertised.

But where are all the women?  A survey carried out in early 2020 by the WISE Campaign for gender equality in STEM revealed that the ratio of men to women in IT and Tech has been static for a decade.  Another report by  Notion Capital shows that just 21% of B2B unicorn tech companies across Europe and the US are led by women, and that overall, women make up only 34% of all staff within these organisations.

An earlier report by pwc highlighted that the issue starts long before women reach the workforce, with only 27% of female students surveyed saying that they would consider a career in technology compared to 61% of males, and a staggering 78% of students unable to name famous women working in the technology sector.

Whilst initiatives such as Computer Weekly’s 50 Most Influential Women in UK Tech list goes some way to counter this, the reality is that the issue is much more than one of just representation.  An American research study by the National Centre for Women & Information Technology illustrated that diversity in gender makeup of technology teams has specific benefits, including better financial results, and improved team dynamics and performance.

The evidence suggests that CIOs need to do more to attract women to their organisations in order to reap the benefits of a diverse workforce, and that the industry as a whole needs to look at engaging with female students at a young age to promote careers in STEM if they are to meet the demands for tech roles in the future.

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