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More women expected to join tech sector in 2020

Research by travel booking platform Trainline has found more than half of people in tech think there will a rise in the number of female tech workers over the next year

Around 60% of people think there will be an uptick in the number of women in tech over the next year, according to research.

A study by travel booking platform Trainline found more than half of people in the tech sector think the next year will see more women working in tech, while 19% of respondents believe there will be an increase in women choosing technical roles more specifically.

“We recognise the importance of having a diverse team in building a product used by a broad range of customers from over 170 countries,” said Trainline chief technology officer Mark Holt. “You can’t expect to cultivate a versatile and agile team, able to react in real time to the ever-changing needs of customers, if you continue to hire the same kind of people, who think the same way.”

The number of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) roles is currently less than 20%. Several reasons are cited for these low numbers, such as misconceptions about the types of people in the sector, pressure from parents and teachers, and a lack of visible or accessible role models.

But many also claim an increase in the number of women, as well as others from under-represented groups, would benefit the tech industry by introducing different ways of thinking, and a perspective that reflects the customers the sector serves.

It could also increase the talent pool tech businesses are fishing in for talent, as well as tackle the issues concerning the sector, such as diverse human intervention in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) systems, and building inclusive cultures to encourage innovation and creativity in the tech workplace.

“We recognise the importance of having a diverse team. You can’t expect to cultivate a versatile and agile team, able to react in real time to the ever-changing needs of customers, if you continue to hire the same kind of people, who think the same way”
Mark Holt, Trainline

Despite many concerns about the future ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI), including biases being introduced into automated systems through biased data or a lack of diverse thought, 59% of people in tech think their firm may invest in some form of AI in the next 12 months.

Many also expect their teams to adopt more agile behaviour within their tech teams, with 75% predicting this when asked about work culture and focus in tech teams in 2020.

Trainline also found that many people expect to move to different roles over the next year, while growth in the number of tech sector jobs is also expected.

Most people in the tech sector think their teams will grow, with 18% claiming they think their teams will double in size, particularly if they are based in London or the Midlands.

Meanwhile, 67% of people in tech are planning to move jobs in 2020, with almost 90% of people saying the purpose of a brand, and the ethics of a company, will factor in to where they next choose to work. This sentiment is strong among younger people, with 40% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 seeking to work for an environmentally-friendly brand in their next role.

But there are still a lack of skilled people to fill the growing number of technology roles, with the talent pool expected to shrink further after the UK leaves the EU unless the UK can work on growing its pool of home-grown technology talent in the wake of EU technology workers leaving the UK after Brexit.

Read more about tech jobs

  • London private sector network Tech London Advocates has launched a pledge signed by hundreds of tech sector greats to create a million tech jobs in the city over the next five years.
  • A quarter of UK workers are worried their jobs will disappear because of automation and a third expect the technology to change their jobs for the worse.

 

Read more on Diversity in IT

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