This article was originally posted on the Tech City UK website.
New data reveals the difference in preference for a tech career based on gender, and highlights a concerning trend
The findings from this in-depth look into young people’s perceptions of tech careers comes from analysing survey responses from over 1,000 young people, alongside nearly 80,000 posts from 7,000 discussions on Reddit. This authoritative new research, sponsored by global recruitment specialist Hays Digital Technology, also explores where the UK’s future talent will come from. The report aims to get to grips with our future tech workforce by investigating young people’s views on tech careers, with an emphasis on understanding potential barriers that stand in the way of inclusivity.
We will use this research to inform practical steps for tech companies, founders and CEOs, and young people to help move the UK towards a more inclusive and diverse future tech workforce.
Insights from the research reveals that of those young people who are interested in working in tech, far more are young men
We found that technology was the most popular choice of future career area for young men at 36% of responses, whilst Creative and design (26%) and Professions (36%), such as law, and medicine, was most popular for young women. Of those young people who wanted to work in tech, 70% were young men whilst only 30% were young women.
The research highlighted that those who wanted to work in Technology cited the ‘fast moving and exciting nature of the tech sector’ (55%), the ‘interesting jobs’ it offers (54%), ‘good pay’ (50%), and interest stimulated by ‘large tech companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google’ (45%) as reasons for wanting to work in the industry.
The perception that tech is a less viable career option for young women must be addressed, and as an employer, this should start with recruitment culture.
To reduce gender bias in recruitment processes, we can, for example, use gender neutral language to advertise tech vacancies, as well as ensure that tech jobs are advertised in places that both men and women are likely to see them, and be clear on company culture. Businesses should, for example, be open and transparent about issues like pay, culture and equal opportunities.
Many young people believe Higher education is the only option
When young people were asked about their future career paths, 59% of respondents felt that there were too few training opportunities for those who did not go to university. However, most respondents did not feel that they would earn more in the long run if they went to university over an apprenticeship.
When it comes to education levels mentioned, UK careers discussions are dominated by Higher education (on average, over 70% of education level mentions), but also includes Further education.
Some young people simply don’t want to work in tech
Over 1,000 young people responded to Tech City UK’s online survey on tech careers in August 2017, and the results reveal that some aged between 15 and 21 years old don’t have an interest in working in the tech industry.
Of those young people who did not want to work in Technology, young men tended to suggest that ‘other areas are more appealing’ at 50% of the sample. Young women were more likely than men to perceive that they ‘do not have the skills to work in Technology’ (45%), ‘lack knowledge about Technology’ (38%), or that it is ‘not for people like them’ (24%).
Interestingly, young people aged over 19 years were more likely than other age groups to feel that they did not have the skills to work in technology, and that there are not many tech jobs around, than other age groups surveyed.
On Reddit, which is the 4th most visited website in the UK and the US, young people when talking about careers, most frequently mentioned ‘Financials’ in a positive way, followed by ‘Cyclical Consumer Goods & Services’, like restaurants or shops, and ‘Energy’ – which may suggest their future career preference.
The findings from all of these different areas highlight the need for action, whether it is driving better action, recruitment processes, and transparent company cultures. The benefits of an inclusive tech community cannot be overstated. The UK tech community has a responsibility to young people as they are, after all, those who will change the future of the tech industry when they get older.
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