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More than half of women think their gender helps them pursue tech careers

A majority of women think being female helps them enter the tech sector, but career progression can be a different story, study shows

Almost 60% of women believe their gender has a positive impact on their ability to pursue a technology career, according to research by Booking.com.

The study found that 57% of women who work in tech and female students who are interested in a technology career said being a woman helps when trying to enter the tech sector, mainly because of a shortage of women in the sector.

But accessing a career in tech and progressing in that career tell two different stories, with 60% of respondents saying some opportunities are not open to women because the sector is male-dominated.

Gillian Tans, CEO at Booking.com, said: “Women are still vastly under-represented in the tech sector. The optimism and ambition that we see from women globally to be successful in a technology or IT field is inspiring, particularly among the younger generation, who see the potential for a career in tech to deliver against the high aspirations they hold for themselves.”

Almost 30% of women in the industry, or those interested in joining it, feel that the large number of men in high-up positions in the industry, and therefore the lack of female decision-makers, makes it harder for women to enter the industry and progress than it is for men.

Many agree that if anything is going to change, men in the tech industry need to be on board with helping to promote diversity.

More women also need to be promoted in the industry and be presented as visible role models to encourage those from outside the industry to consider a career in tech, or to help guide those in the industry towards career progression.

In the study, just over 40% of female university undergraduates and 45% of female secondary school students in the UK said they thought a career in tech would allow them to be creative, and just under 30% said they thought a tech career would help them to develop their own career path and be successful from a young age.

Creativity is gaining importance in the tech industry as more mundane tasks become automated, and many think this will make the industry appeal more to diverse candidates, such as women.

Read more about diversity in the technology industry

  • The CEO of travel brand Carnival told Splunk.conf 2018 that having diverse teams is the best way to drive innovation throughout a business.
  • More than £1m is being put aside to increase the amount of diversity in technology, and to teach disabled people digital skills.

More than 80% of young women in education said they want to work in a career that matches their “natural skillset”.

But to encourage more young women into technology, many believe they need to be exposed to the industry from a young age, and it has been suggested that parents and teachers play a huge role in what career young people choose.

Tans said: “If the tech industry is to retain a balanced future pipeline of talent, we must all work tirelessly to engage women throughout their years of education, to act as positive sources of influence in shaping girls’ perceptions of science, technology, engineering and maths [Stem].”

In the study, nearly three in four women in the UK said their career choices are driven from the skills learned during the education process, and 69% said they chose their careers based on the subjects they studied.

Overall, the research found that women claimed to have entered the technology industry because they believe it is innovative and creative, and 37% said they feel it will also offer challenges to tackle.

Read more on Diversity in IT

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