We may have just passed the middle of 2022, but it’s already clear that it will be a pivotal year for women working in technology. The pandemic and the working conditions it brought with it affected women — especially those with children — differently than their male counterparts. The hybrid era has created new challenges for women in terms of setting boundaries and prioritizing mental health – but it also presents a wealth of potential opportunities.
The impact of hybrid work patterns is just one of the topics discussed during the Computing & CRN Women in Tech Festival in Nov. The festival is back in central London on Thursday 3rd November and will be broadcast from our London studio on Wednesday 9e November. In addition to participating in roundtables and networking opportunities, delegates can hear industry leaders speak on topics such as cybersecurity diversity, the importance of age in digital inclusion, and how many women in tech careers have successfully moved sideways from other parts of a company.
The festival provides an opportunity to celebrate being a woman working in technology and encourage more women to pursue careers in the industry. The fact remains that while there is much to celebrate, there is also much to do to improve the employment rate of women, especially women of color and those belonging to LGBTQ communities at all levels of technology – especially those closer to the standing on top.
Women in technology at number
Data on women working in technology must be compiled from a variety of sources, and one story often seems to contradict another. For example, in August 2021, the Bureau of National Statistics (ONS) reported that the number of women working in ICT in the UK fell by 8.9% in the second quarter of 2021 – a much higher rate than the overall 1.35% reduction in employment in the sector as a whole.
Towards the end of last year, the ONS also reported that 71% of professionals placed in ICT in the third quarter of the same year were women. Some of this apparent contradiction can be explained by women changing jobs but staying in the industry — but not all of it.
Further research provides little clarity. The Tech Talent Charter Diversity in Tech Report 2021 suggests that female employment in technology has increased slightly from 25 to 27% in 2021. This increase can be viewed from multiple perspectives. Some outlets reported the rate of change in women’s tech employment as a freezing 2%. However, more optimistic (and possibly numerical) types would see a 25% increase as an 8% increase over the original – signifying a significant increase in one year.
Follow my leader
Whether the proportion of women in tech positions is 25% or 27%, it’s far from enough to even change the industry’s male-dominated image. To change that, more women need to be in technical leadership roles. Data on female technology leadership is scarcer than total employment rate, but what there is is hard to read
Figures from the US cheer a little more – but only a little. Deloitte suggests that women will make up 25.3% of technical leadership roles by the end of this year – an increase of almost 20% since 2019.
This data comes from large, global technology companies. Many of these firms are headquartered in North America, in states such as California and Washington that have passed legislation on board diversity. There is currently no prospect of similar legislation in the UK. If a company has fewer than 250 employees, they don’t even need to report their gender pay gap.
The fact is that women who work in technology remain a minority and become smaller and smaller the higher up the ladder you look.
Agenda for change
The agenda for the Women in Tech Festival contains practical advice to shake up the tech workplace. It includes panel discussions on how to bring more women into leadership roles and looks at how to overcome some of the challenges that women have some control over, such as imposter syndrome, and those beyond their control, such as prejudice. and chatter in the workplace. Speakers will share their stories of gaining recognition in a male-dominated workplace and how all minorities in technology can support and educate each other.
Computing will host the Women in Tech Festival live in London on November 3rd and digitally on November 9.
Join us to find out how the industry can continue to promote diversity and drive positive change. Find your sense of belonging as we bring the tech industry together to collaborate, learn and grow.
Find out more: Women in Tech Festival