Konstantin Yuganov - Fotolia
Industry research has led professional services firm KPMG to launch a campaign to encourage more women to pursue technology roles.
The company’s “IT’s her future” campaign will help develop initiatives such as inclusive job descriptions, targeted advertising, mentoring for junior team members and a more inclusive interview process to help encourage more women into the firm’s technology remit.
Over the next three years, KPMG will use these tactics, and work closely with recruiters to ensure they are more aware of what a technology job at the company involves, to recruit more women for techn roles.
Nigel Slater, KPMG’s head of management consulting, said: “The gender gap within Stem [science, technology, engineering and maths] professions, and more specifically those that specialise in technology, is vast. Last year, only 18% of ICT professionals working in the UK were female, even though women currently make up almost half of the UK workforce.”
Collaboration between schools, the government and employers has been cited as one of the best ways to encourage more children, and particularly more girls, into the IT industry in the future.
KPMG suggested that firms should take care about use of language in job adverts to offer the same benefits to everyone rather than just targeting women, to ensure the right support exists for minority groups in organisations and to promote more women to leadership positions.
More exposure to role models can help encourage girls into Stem roles because they will feel there are others in the industry who are like them, it said.
Slater added: “There needs to be real and visible evidence that it is possible to progress as a woman to a senior management role in the business. Female millennials told us they can lack the confidence to apply for positions of responsibility, even if they feel qualified for the role.”
Read more about girls in Stem
- Girls have admitted there are role models available to them from the Stem industries, but they want to hear from coders and developers.
- Women’s network Everywoman has relaunched its Modern Muse application after a year of encouraging and collecting women to act as role models for young girls.
Giving women access to mentors, both male and female, across a company can also help to retain female talent.
A study by CompTIA found that 69% of girls who are not looking into an IT job in the future are not aware of what an IT job would entail.
And of those who have considered a career in technology, the number of girls still willing to pursue and IT career declines as they get older.
Almost 30% of girls aged between 10 and 13 said they were considering an IT career, whereas 18% of girls aged between 14 and 17 said the same. As girls enter higher education, the number studying Stem-based subjects drops.
But the UK’s current IT skills gap means there are not enough trained graduates to fill IT roles, and encouraging more women into technology roles can help to fill this gap.
The curriculum is also cited as a possible reason why girls choose not to go into IT, and many claim an emphasis on coding in the curriculum can fuel the negative stereotypes surrounding the types of people who work in the IT industry.
A focus on using technology to solve real-world problems can help break down these stereotypes and encourage women into the industry. For example, 63% of millennials expect their workplace to contribute to a social cause.