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Where are the young women in tech?

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For those with the talent to thrive, technology is an exciting, vibrant and growing industry rife with opportunity. Professionals are finding an abundance of new skills to learn; technology is ever evolving and there are always exciting projects to take part in. As well as this the Hays Ireland Salary & Recruiting Trends 2018 guide revealed that technology salaries rose by 2.5% last year in light of increased demand.

As a consequence of increased opportunities however, skills shortages are prevalent across the industry, and despite the high demand for experienced professionals, there is often a lack of opportunities for young people to join the profession in the first place. This is especially common for women, contributing to the stark gender imbalance which remains across many tech teams. If we are to combat the skills shortage, and ensure a healthy talent pipeline in the future, we all need to prioritise getting young women into the industry.

The root of the problem

The imbalance begins early, spurred by the drop off in the number of girls choosing to continue studying STEM subjects into higher education. A recent PwC report, showed a pronounced drop in the number of girls who carry on studying STEM subjects from school through to university than boys. It also found that only 3% of females say a career in technology is their first choice, compared to 15% of males. Schools and tutors need to encourage a more mutual uptake, and promote the opportunities that are available to all young people.

The second part of the issue is that some children simply do not have access to the teachers and infrastructure required to learn the skills needed for a career in tech.

Young women need to be actively engaged

Developing the interest and passion for a role in the technology industry needs to start from a young age. With this in mind, Hays is working with Teen-Turn to provide internship opportunities to teenage girls as a practical way to encourage them to consider a career in technology. The scheme provides school-age girls with the opportunity to see what a role in tech looks like, and help them to understand that it is not a career choice open to men only.

Teen-Turn’s focus is on girls from areas where access to third level education is low, providing internship opportunities for even more girls who may not otherwise get the chance.

Female role models can make all the difference

You are more likely to do something if you see someone already doing it successfully. Providing girls with the opportunity to meet and work with women in tech is a key part of Teen-Turn. We have found that doing so helps break stereotypes and enables girls to envisage themselves working in a similar role in the future.

Identifying female role models in your own organisation, and making the time for willing employees to volunteer and engage with schools, can help to inspire the next generation of women to pursue a tech career.

Actions speak louder than words

Improving gender diversity in tech is one way to overcome skills shortages in the industry, and can bring a number of benefits including improved innovation – a key differentiator for many tech organisations.

However, change is not brought about by words alone. By getting involved in schemes such as Teen-Turn, you can contribute to providing opportunities for all young people to discover their passion for tech, as well as enable them to pursue a career in the industry. This, in turn, will build a stronger pipeline of talent and help to alleviate future skills shortages, ensuring the tech industry can continue to thrive in the years to come.

If you are interested in becoming a Teen-Turn host in 2018, contact the team: contact@teen-turn.com

To take part in our next round of research into diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and add your voice to our next report, take our short survey.

For more information, or to discuss your recruitment needs, please contact your local consultant.

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