Diversity is not just an addition to a workplace in order to create opportunity, it is also an essential aspect for any company looking for success and productivity. Although creating a diverse workforce is a challenge for all areas of work, the tech industry in particular has often struggled, with gender imbalance being a hotly debated subject.
A recent study suggested that the most gender-diverse companies were 15% more likely to outperform their competitors. So, with positive outcomes like this, why is the tech industry so slow with their progress in making the industry less gender bias? Despite clear efforts being made, there is more to be done and it’s worth looking at the reasons behind why there are these divides in the first place if we want to move forward.
Firstly, there is a clear stereotypical image of an IT worker that would have been planted in women’s minds for years through the media and basic tradition. Because of this, it seems most people will make an assumption of what type of person an IT worker should be, without really knowing much about what the work involves.
We should be educating girls from a younger age, and teaching them exactly what working in technology and IT entails if we are wanting more of them to continue a long this route later in life.
With only 9.8% of people completing an A-level in computing being female, schools are now making the change from ICT to computer science in the hope that it will attract more girls to take it as a subject. As well as altering the school system, there are also efforts being made to increase the number of apprenticeships available, or even to add technical elements to other university courses as a way of engaging women’s interests.
Campaigns such as Wise have also been introduced as a way of attracting more women into the industry by emphasising the importance of qualities such as creativity, organisational skills and sociability.
Previous research has shown that lack of confidence is a reason why many women don’t actually apply for jobs, despite having all the required skills. Building on this confidence could play a huge factor in addressing the gender imbalance issues in tech. The women in tech are out there they are just choosing not to apply for the work.
It seems that image, education and confidence are equally at fault for the lack of diversity in the tech industry. However, it is definitely a possibility that these biases can be overturned, especially with the younger generations becoming more tech savvy, we just can’t expect the process to move too quickly.