Did you know that girls regularly outperform boys in computing, and ICT A Levels? But so few girls actually take A Level computing ….6.5% of the total number taking this A level.
Did you know that in all of the IT specialist jobs in the UK today, only 16% are held by women?
There’s a clear challenge here and one which Cosmic is happy to step up to.
We need more women in digital roles and career development opportunities which motivate women of all ages. The recent report from the British Computer Society stresses that we must employ and encourage more girls to come into these roles, and more women to take up the jobs available in order to secure the growth of the sector and the UK economy. Take a look at the full report here.
And its not just the UK, gender imbalance in the IT industry and in IT occupations is still a challenge across all EU nations where female representation in the industry is even lower than UK. But elsewhere, in Iceland, Poland, Estonia, universities are managing to make the change, 41% (35% and 34%) of university qualifications in engineering, manufacturing and construction are currently being awarded to women. Take a look at the recent article in The Guardian regards this subject here.
What needs to happen then here in the UK to make the change?
We think its fairly obvious and here’s our wish-list:
- Schools must lead with the change – gaining a much clearer sense of the opportunities which IT and digital roles offer to girls and then promote these heavily
- Stereotypes need to be challenged and changed – at all levels we should be challenging our own perceptions of the digital workforce and supporting changes which provide new standards and examples
- Role models of women who’ve succeeded in IT roles are needed – locally, nationally internationally – we need to celebrate women who’ve made it in the sector and share regular examples of this success
- Flexible working and support for ‘agile’ career paths – there is no reason at all why the modern IT business and IT roles cannot be flexible and agile and fit with the needs of women (and men!) who want to combine an excellent career with parenthood and other care roles.
- Leadership – we need women to show strong and determined leadership in stepping up to this challenge – finding ways to break some of the old conventions, challenge male counterparts about attitudes and approaches when needed, and demonstrate how leading and being part of a top-class IT workforce in the UK right now is a great choice.
We’d love to hear your views on this challenge and welcome discussions and ideas about how Cosmic can step up and provide some leadership on this issue. Please get in touch today at [email protected]
Written by Julie Hawker, Chief Executive