Why women are needed to save the tech industry

Labour Party

The question of women on company boards continues to make headlines. This time it’s to tell us that positive action taken to encourage more companies to recruit women into executive and board roles is having a negative impact and they are hiring less women as a result of trying to do the right thing. I find it hard to believe that companies are recruiting so aggressively that it’s enough to put women off applying.

Despite this, they insist the unintended consequences have meant women are leaving executive and managerial positions because of the stress such roles invite.

Meanwhile, other senior women claim that head-hunters are rushing to appoint as many women to non-executive roles as possible because it helps FTSE businesses to tick the equality box by meeting the voluntary targets set by government.

Of course, a successful and healthy business flourishes when there is diversity on boards something tech entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox is only too aware of. Earlier this week she revealed how she had noticed a profound gender inequality at every level of the tech industry that didn’t even exist 30 years ago.

Confirming Martha Lane Fox’ concerns, research published by digital networking company, Doteveryone, a couple of weeks ago confirmed this when its research revealed only 17% of tech jobs are filled by women, even more concerning is that only one in 10 of these women are in leadership roles.

Other figures available simply highlight the inequality within this young but rapidly expanding industry, and frankly it’s embarrassing. Embarrassing that despite the fact those working in tech roles are generally well paid the pay gap is significant. Women earn 13% less than men- a truly astonishing figure.

But one of the industry’s most significant problems is huge skills gap in the UK sector. Currently there are in the region of 600,000 vacancies and by not encouraging girls and women into the industry 50% of the potential talent pool is neglected. Women really could save the industry!

But seriously, this is a real problem and if there isn’t some sort of intervention then the skills shortage is predicted to increase to a million by 2020.