These companies are making positive contributions to the Women in Technology initiative.
The UK’s tech workforce is only 17% female, which means they are incredibly underrepresented in this field. This could be for a number of reasons. STEM subjects are stereotypically viewed as boys’ clubs, which can be seen in the education system through the stark gendered divide in the subjects young adults choose for their A-levels. Consequently, fewer women take these courses at degree level.
Due to the fact that there are not many women in the tech workforce, young girls are lacking role models to inspire them to pursue technology and many do not ever consider a career in this industry. Even the influencers in young peoples’ lives, such as their parents and teachers, are not fully informed of the career opportunities for women in technology. According to PwC, only 16% of females had a career in technology suggested to them compared to 33% of males.
As a combined result, only 3% of females say a career in technology is their first choice.
The industry is beginning to recognise this and realise they are missing out on applications from talented individuals through technology being perceived as a male-only industry. Now, companies are voicing their support for the Women in Tech initiative. The following four companies are each contributing to the movement in different ways:
1) Booking.com has sponsored a Women in Technology scholarship
In October 2017, Booking.com announced that they would be providing a total of 15 scholarships to help women into technology across the University of Oxford and Delft University of Technology. The scholarships are all for a one year Master of Science course and will cover both university fees and living expenses. Booking.com strives for equal access and opportunity within the technology sector and hopes this initiative will encourage more women to consider a career in technology.
2) PWC Women in Tech shadowing program and school events
PwC has recruited Sheridan Ash as the leader of their Women in Technology initiative. She believes that the technology sector should reflect the society that it is creating technology for and therefore it needs to have a more balanced gender representation. As a result, PwC regularly host events for secondary school students to show young girls what a career in engineering could be like and encourage them to keep studying STEM subjects. They also organise an annual shadowing program for young women. It is available to those who are in their penultimate year of an undergraduate degree or their final year with a one year postgraduate placement confirmed. If they impress, they could be offered a placement at the company the following year.
3) BP partnered with the Modern Muse project to provide school-aged girls with female role models in STEM
Providing young girls with role models to inspire them is a crucial part of improving diversity in the technology industry. Modern Muse is a not-for-profit social enterprise that has been designed to inspire and engage the next generation of female business leaders. BP took the lead in putting the online application together for the project because they believe in the importance of young girls having role models in STEM careers to show them that women can be successful in this field. Modern Muse also provides a platform for young girls to interact with these women, which may influence their subject choices that will define their future careers.
4) Shell Women in a Technology and Engineering event for University students and recent graduates
Shell are already part of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women and have a dedicated internal support network dedicated to achieving gender equality, called Balance at Shell, which has over 2,000 members in the UK alone.
Alongside their internal support the company wants to actively recruit women into technology. Recently they hosted a “Women in Tech and Engineering” event, in collaboration with Campus Media, which targeted women who are currently at university or have recently graduated. The day aimed to inspire and equip women with the skills needed to pursue a career in these industries. The event consisted of networking, skills sessions and a panel from successful women.
The diversification of the technology workforce will take time, but is worth the effort. From a business perspective, diverse companies have been proven to perform better and it would be better for women to have more career opportunities presented to them during their education. This way, they can make more fully informed decisions about their future.
Campus Media are in the early stages of hosting a Women In Technology & Engineering Event again. To learn how your business can get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8265 0130.