Women in Tech: How can more women get into the tech industry?
DP Connect's Women in Tech series features three articles from our Recruitment Consultant Ashely Thomas. After conducting interviews with some of the leading female experts in the technology sector Ashely explores the roles of women in IT and technology, the challenges they have faced and the advice they would give to other females looking to break into the tech world.
The technology sector outperforms the wider economy in terms of the representation of BAME employees and the number of foreign nationals working in the sector. But, in terms of gender diversity, the tech sector does not accurately reflect wider society and there is a significant gap which does not appear to be closing.
Within the UK technology sector, only 19% of employees are female, with just 23% of directors at Board level identifying as female. If we wish to see future female managers and leaders representing here then we need to focus on the female talent pool coming in at entry level and also the retention of female talent throughout their careers.
I had the opportunity to speak with three very successful female CTOs about their experience and what advice they would give to other women who wanted to pursue a career in Technology or are just starting their tech career.
Following the completion of a course in Computer Science at university, Jennifer Anderson spent 6 months working for a tech start-up in San Francisco, she is now CTO at Incuto, a financial technology company based in the north of the UK.
Jennifer tells us the importance of strong female role models and mentors to help with your career choices and challenges. She also stresses the importance of building a network of tech females in your area. Jennifer continues, “There are so many great networking events/groups for women today in tech that you can learn new tech skills and build friendships.”
Jennifer believes that a lot more can and should be done to encourage more women into the tech sector. She continues, “the fact that less than 1/5 of the workforce in Tech is female conveys just how far we have to go. It is clear from speaking to females in the tech space that there are not enough opportunities for females to show their talent.
How many tech companies engage with their local communities? How many go into schools and run talks, showing students especially girls that this is an amazing career path for them. Mentoring is key to addressing this issue.”
The best piece of advice Jennifer can offer to any young females wanting to pursue a career in tech is “If you have an interest in IT, then you should go for it no matter what anyone else thinks. Who knows you could be inspiring the next generation of girls to pursue a career in IT. Take the opportunity that you are given and believe in your own abilities.”
A passion for solving challenging problems led Rija Javed into a career in tech when she left university. She went on become CTO at MarketInvoice, a business finance company with offices in London and Manchester, and is currently working at Facebook.
Speaking on advice she would give young females looking to break into the tech industry, Rija said, “The same advice I would give to anyone, particularly from an underrepresented group, and still believe I need to work on: network and learn to negotiate.”
A passion for building software led Greenie Cheng into a career in tech and she is now CTO at GrantTree, one of the UK’s leading innovation funding consultancies.
She is a firm believer in learning from mistakes, she continues “You don’t want to be afraid of making mistakes. When you make mistakes, own them, and learn from them. Take ownership by examining how your own decision-making process led you to make those mistakes.”
Founded in 1990 by Toni Cocozza, female empowerment remains a priority for DP Connect. From the very beginning, we have believed that the IT recruitment industry could do better, and we have pushed for higher standards in the industry and are passionate about promoting women in technology. Which is why we have awards such as Recruiter Magazines ‘Most Effective Flexible Working Strategy' award.