Laura Hawthorne, Marketing Manager at Roq, explores…
Technology continues to play an increasingly important role in our lives, and the demand for skilled workers in this field is growing rapidly. However, the UK is currently in the midst of a digital skills shortage, so fulfilling the demand for these roles is becoming ever-more challenging. Despite this widespread issue, women are still vastly underrepresented in the technology space.
National Coding Week, which takes place from September 18th to 23rd, aims to promote and raise awareness of the importance of digital literacy and coding skills. Open to everyone, from beginners to experts, it’s the chance to celebrate the skills involved in coding and find out more about the career path. It’s the ideal opportunity for us to draw attention to this issue and encourage more women to pursue careers within this space.
What is coding?
Coding is the practice of using a programming language to instruct a computer to perform specific tasks. Each line of code provides a command to the computer, with a large array of coding, known as a script, which is intended to allow a computer and its software to accomplish a particular function.
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Encouraging more women into technology and how we can be of influence this National Coding Week
Research shows that currently, women only hold 26.7% of technology-related jobs and organisations that have over 10,000 employees report that women represent just 26.2% of the workforce. In the 21st century, this low representation needs to be looked at.
There are many reasons why women are underrepresented in this industry. One of the main reasons is the lack of prominent female role models within this field. When women don’t see other women, they may not consider it as a viable career option. Plus, with the majority of these roles being held by men, this male-dominated environment can be off-putting to some individuals. Additionally, women may face discrimination or bias in the hiring process or workplace culture, which can discourage them from pursuing a career in technology.
According to research by Samsung, 91% of Gen-Z women say there are barriers to going into a career in technology. Only 22% of students who are taking a GCSE in Computing (as of 2022) are female, and worse still, 31% of girls who study technology, computer science or information science at school don’t take these subjects into further education at University.
More needs to be done to empower and encourage women to pursue technology careers. This can be achieved through a combination of outreach and education initiatives. For example, at Roq, we partner with schools and universities to provide mentoring and skill-day opportunities for young people, with events such as our popular Defective Secondary School challenge. Additionally, our in-house Roq Academy programme invites recent university graduates to join our team and develop their academic skills by working on real-world client projects.
To enable the sector to encourage more women to pursue careers in technology, organisations should be striving to provide a supportive and inclusive workplace culture. This means implementing policies and practices that promote gender equality, such as equal pay, flexible work arrangements, and anti-discrimination policies.
I’m proud to work for a company that is striving for gender equality in the technology space. Roq has a completely fair equal pay approach, and our leadership team of six is a 50/50 split male to female. The gender split across the entire team at Roq, however, is only a little higher than average at 27%, and this is something which Roq will continue championing. We can see that it is important and that empowering and encouraging women to pursue these types of careers can create a more diverse and inclusive technology industry that benefits everyone.