Women heavily under-represented in the tech industry with only 19% of the sector being female

Despite the UK’s technology sector growing rapidly, currently employing 1.1 million people and being valued at £184 billion to the UK in 2018, the results show that women within the tech industry are severely underrepresented.

Just under one fifth (19 per cent) of individuals working in the sector are women, and at every level of the industry the number of them pale in comparison to their male colleagues. Especially when it comes to senior management positions as the gender only makes up 12.6 per cent of board members.

This is very low when compared to the 30 per cent of women who are board members in FTSE 100 businesses. 

The UK already suffers from a digital talent gap which causes the country to lose out on £63 billion a year as companies are finding it increasingly difficult to find the right candidates with the digital skills to fill its vacancies.

More than 70 per cent of technological employers have experienced skills shortages this year.

Grant Dove, IT recruitment lead at specialist marketing and digital recruitment agency Forward Role, said:

With the digital skills shortage and strong industry growth, it’s now more important than ever to address the industry’s gender imbalance if we want to continue to grow, innovate and evolve.

We all have to work hard to encourage more diversity and grow our industry into one that we can be really proud of as it changes and evolves. There will be many barriers to overcome in the next few years, but the future looks bright for women in tech.

Before females enter the world of employment, a gender divide seems to exist at school, as only one fifth (20 per cent) of girls at GCSE level end up taking computer science subjects.

Emma Grant, talent and skills manager at Manchester Digital who heads up DigitalHer, an initiative set up to inspire girls and women to explore the careers available in digital and tech, said:

Diversity is good for business and good for the wider society. One of the ways we can help make a change in the tech industry is by inspiring and empowering more young women to consider careers in technology – which is the reason Manchester Digital created its Digital Her programme.

It’s essential we enable young women to make informed decisions about the subject choices and education pathways that could allow them to develop the skills and mindsets they need to succeed in our industry.

This year the European Commission aims to increase the amount of women in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) sectors.  As it stands in more than half (53 per cent) of tech organisations men outnumber women by at least three to one leading to the gender pay gap stagnating over the past few years.

AllBright, a London-based women’s networking club recently conducted a survey and saw 22 per cent of female tech founders are overlooked by male investors.

A knock-on effect of this is that there are fewer women in senior management and ownership positions in tech and digital areas.

Rosie Bennett, centre director at SETsquared, a tech business incubator based in the University of Bath’s Innovation Centre, is helping to plan a strategy to entice more female candidates.

SETsquared is a business incubation network run by five universities in Southern England, the universities are Bath, Bristol, Southhampton, Surrey, Exeter and Basingstoke.

The incubator targets female companies to assist, as well as its recruitment campaign being more gender-balanced.

So far it has been successful as the amount of female applications has increased from five per cent to 11 per cent in the last 12 months.

The European Union (EU) published the Women in Digital Age study and found there are numerous strengths to bolstering the amount of women in this sector:

  • An annual €16 billion GDP boost in the EU.
  • Improvements in the start-up environment (research shows that female-owned start-ups are more likely to be successful).
  • Benefits to businesses – as it’s been proven that diversity at inception leads to better products and services.


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Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.