What Teenage Girls Would Do To Attract More Women Into The Tech Industry
It’s no secret the tech sector has a diversity problem. At Unruly, 48% of our workforce is female, but, unfortunately, we are the exception rather than the rule.
According to stats from DotEveryone, women occupy only 17% of tech jobs, and fewer than 10% of these women are in leadership positions.
So how can we combat this? Well, we currently have three female students from across London doing work experience placements in our office. So who better to ask what more tech companies can do to get more girls involved in the industry.
Below you’ll find their responses, which speak for themselves.
“As a girl growing up in London, I never really considered a career in the tech industry.
“In my opinion, one of the things preventing young women pursuing these careers is a lack of high-profile female leaders. There is plenty of publicity around successful men in the sector, but not many people can so easily name a female tech CEO. Perhaps if there was more publicity around female role models in the industry, to whom young women could relate and be inspired by, there would be more girls considering tech as a career option.
“Technology companies could also attract more young women through involvement with schools. Most secondary schools invite speakers to give talks about their jobs and answer questions about their industry, but I have never had a talk from someone who works in technology. Tech companies should work with schools in this way to promote the industry and inform young people about their career options.
“Schools could also give young people the option of finding out more about the sector by setting up coding clubs or competitions.
“Finally, I think it’s important that tech companies take on work experience students, as this provides them with first-hand knowledge of the industry. This would be especially useful as many young people are unclear about what a job in tech entails. I think it is important to make it clear that there are a range of roles available, from marketing to design, as this increases visible career options for young people, and they realise that a job in tech is not confined to one thing.”
“Before my work experience at Unruly, I had never considered a career in technology, as I didn’t see it as a very ‘me’ job. However, now I understand there’s more to the sector than meets the eye.
“My brief introduction to tech has already begun to bust some of the myths surrounding the industry, and I have been shown the work that goes behind many of the services that I take for granted: the ads on websites I visit have a long journey before getting there, with hundreds of people involved in the process.
“My only previous tech education was a year of coding once a week at school, which was hugely satisfying for some, but not something I immediately gravitated towards.
“However, after coming to Unruly, I no longer see this as a reason not to work in tech. Instead, I now know there is far more to technology than just coding, and that whatever a young woman’s interests are – there is a place for her in the industry.
“I hope that, in the future, technology companies and the industry in general try to open themselves to people like me and let other girls know that there are many, many more jobs available than it appears. You cannot say that ‘tech’s not for me’ because you don’t need to code to be a techie…this industry is growing and has room for everyone.”
“The tech world is undoubtedly daunting. For young women just beginning their career, an industry which is 83% male is hardly appealing.
“If change is pending, companies like Unruly need to continue to reach out to women. Purposely seeking out graduates and students for hiring both builds self confidence and promotes the feeling that they’re wanted and needed in the industry. What’s also exceedingly important is campaigns beginning at a much, much younger age.
“With the growing influence of social media, it’s becoming even harder to get girls interested in activities and interests that are seen as ‘male’. But if companies and businesses can break through this, it is highly likely that girls can find a passion in tech, free from judgement. And once that eagerness is planted, it becomes harder to be drive away.
“Ultimately, what needs the most improvement is how stereotypes are introduced to babies, toddlers and children before they even know what the word ‘gender’ means. These preconceptions set in at an age, when children are forming their identity, and block out many different paths for their future. For example, as boys are given helicopters and controllers, girls are given dolls and make-up. Though it seems simple, it’s just one of the ways where boys begin to learn more about technology before girls are even exposed to it.”