Mind the gap: the gender divide in technology firms

Employment stats released by the likes of Google, Apple, and Facebook have revealed that there’s a severe shortage of women working in technology roles. Charlotte Bacon explores this issue, and what firms are doing to help address the problem.

Thoughtful young woman with multimedia icons around her headThis year, the issue of the gender divide in technology has received more attention than ever before.

Large tech firms have revealed their employment statistics, and the results were harrowing. Dominating companies in the technology sector, such as Google, Apple, and Facebook, shared figures that showed that under a third of their employees were women, whilst even fewer are in technical and leadership roles.

Similarly, reports show that the number of women qualified with computing related degrees is at its lowest in 40 years in the US, home of Silicon Valley. This is problematic for those hiring, as women are less likely to have the qualifications necessary for the role so can’t even apply.

A step in the right direction

Acknowledgement of the lack of women in this sector is certainly a step in the right direction. Companies as influential as Google and Apple having total transparency with this issue, and acknowledging the fact that there is a deficit of women in technical roles, should influence other companies to reflect on their workforce. Also introducing new initiatives, such as Google’s $50 million investment in teaching girls to code, will also increase the number of women in these roles.

There are also attempts being made in the UK and US education systems that endeavour to encourage girls into computing. Children returning to school this week in the UK will now have regular lessons in IT, and now even coding as a part of the National Curriculum. This intends to see a rise not only in the number of girls that follow a technical career path, but also with this generation in general.

The swift escalation of the technology sector means there is a shortage of employees to fill this role in the UK, an issue the Government are trying to tackle before it worsens with this curriculum change. Actively sparking an interest in this field in children, regardless of sex, should see an increase in the number of men and women seeking to study computing and fill this shortage in years to come. The hope is that more girls will continue their studies in this area and go on the work in technical roles. It will be at this stage that company incentives and inclusivity programmes will come into use.

What are your thoughts on the gender divide in tech? Let us know via Twitter or LinkedIn.

– Charlotte Bacon

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