PwC and 18 major organisations are launching the ‘Tech She Can Charter’ to encourage more young females across the UK to pursue technology careers.
The Tech She Can Charter has been founded to tackle the factors behind the shortfall of women in technology roles. Currently only 23% of people working in STEM jobs are female.
PwC’s research Women in Tech: Time to Close the Gender Gap reveals that only just over a quarter (27%) of females say they would consider a career in technology, compared to 62% of males. And only 3% of females say it is their first choice of career. The reasons why female students aren’t considering technology roles include: because no one is putting it forward as an option to them, they aren’t given enough information at school about what working in technology involves and a lack of female role models.
Without coordinated action at school age onwards to create a sustainable pipeline of diverse tech talent, the Tech She Can signatories believe the UK could lose its competitive edge on the world stage. This could mean not being able to meet businesses’ technology skills needs, losing out on inward investment and creating inherently biased algorithms.
The founding signatories include PwC, British Science Association, Business 3.0, Digital Jam, everywoman, FDisruptors, Girlguiding, InnovateHer, JP Morgan, Modern Muse, NatWest Markets, money.co.uk, Sophos, Smoothwall, TechGirls, Tech Talent Charter, Tesco, T Systems and Zoopla Property Group. More organisations are expected to join.
Sheridan Ash, Women in Tech leader at PwC and The Tech She Can Charter founder, said: “Waiting until women are entering work is simply too late – to boost the number of females in technology we need to take coordinated action to start inspiring girls to consider technology careers while they are still at school.”
The Tech She Can founding Charter signatories are signing up to the following actions:
Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC, said: “The gender imbalance in technology roles is a key issue of our time that we need to work together to address head on. We’re already seeing the huge impact technology is having on our lives. If the sector and people in technology roles don’t reflect wider society there’s a real risk that the products and technology advances will be biased.
“The demand for technology skills from businesses is already reaching critical levels and is only set to increase. This is our chance to build a diverse and inclusive pipeline of technology talent, which will help position UK businesses at the forefront of innovation and investment in the future.”
The Tech She Can Charter has been created following research carried out by PwC into the reasons why females aren’t going into technology careers. The research was launched at The Science Museum in 2017 with the aim of bringing together different organisations to take action together to change the pipeline of women coming into technology roles.
Meanwhile, a report from Tech City UK has found that only 21% of British youngsters aged between 15 and 16 who aspire to work in technology are female. The survey of 1,000 people aged between 15 and 21 showed technology was the most popular choice of future career for young men (36%), compared with only 13% of women. Tech City UK say the survey is evidence that efforts to entice more women into the industry needed to begin by primary school because “by age 15, girls already doubt their abilities and are discounting technology as a career.”