HR · 22 November 2018

Women will wait “over a decade” to gain gender equality in UK tech sector

Over half of women believe that they are on the wrong side of a gender pay gap

Women will have to wait for over a decade to gain gender balance in the UK tech sector, according to new survey findings.

New research, by specialist IT recruiter CWJobs, revealed that industry professionals believe an equal balance between female and male employees in the sector won’t be reached for another 12 and a half years. Male tech workers were even less optimistic believing it will be another 14 years before the level is reached.

The survey found that most companies are struggling to level the playing field with 87% agreeing that a gender imbalance across both pay and representation still exists in the sector.

This is despite professionals realising that gender diversity was important in driving greater innovation, differing viewpoints and ensuring that new technologies are geared towards everyone in society.

“Equality is coming – but we cannot afford to sit back and wait until the 2030s,” said Dominic Harvey, director at CWJobs.

“Emerging technologies, from artificial intelligence to augmented reality, are developing at a rapid pace and we need to move significantly faster to unlock ideas from the widest pool of candidates. We must take decisive action to attract and hire more women who can improve our nation’s capabilities and global competitiveness”

The research discovered that the most common reasons for women to be put off from pursuing a career in the tech industry are a perceived male-dominated culture and a lack of opportunity for promotion or senior roles. Other deterrents include negative perceptions of the sector as well as the recruitment process and interview questions favouring men.

Equal pay and discrimination were among other concerns cited by respondents. Over half of women believe that they are on the wrong side of a gender pay gap, and this imbalance is not expected to be redressed for another 7 and a half years.

Positively, almost three-quarters of respondents believe that their company has taken steps to recruit more women into tech roles. Some of the initiatives companies are adopting to break down barriers include changing the way they write job ads to avoid unconscious bias, introducing gender balance quotas or targets and putting emphasis on women in senior roles.

CW Jobs said it is taking action to tackle the root of the issue by working together with 75 other organisations who’ve signed the Tech She Can Charter, launched by PwC in February 2018.

Sheridan Ash, director at PwC and founder of Tech She Can, commented: “It’s only by taking combined action across the industry that we can hope to tackle the root cause of the gender imbalance in the technology sector. We need to work hard to create a sustainable pipeline of diverse tech talent, and it all starts by inspiring girls to consider tech roles while they are in school.”

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