Around two-thirds (67 per cent) of tech workers in the UK believe women are the answer to bridging the tech talent gap, yet only 40 per cent stated their company has a plan to improve the gender split in their IT teams, according to research.
The annual Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT salary survey also revealed that almost a quarter of all participants strongly believe women are not well represented in higher positions within the tech workforce.
The lack of women in the tech sector is not only hindering diversity, but also contributing to the significant skills gap, leaving firms struggling to find the talent they require. Hostile environments for women in tech roles could deter them from pursuing careers in the industry, leading to a missed opportunity for a pool of potential talent.
Senna Baillie, Director of Community, at VeUP, said: “The industry and companies within should continue to work together to highlight and implement the necessary means to break down barriers to entry, and implement strategies to shift away from the idea of the sector being exclusive. As well as looking to recruit new talent, tech companies must look inward and drive an inclusive culture to expand organisational support and access to courses for their female staff. Getting more females into tech is crucial to unlocking an abundance of knowledge as well as strengthening retention and attitudes across the board.”
More than half of the survey participants highlighted the need for greater involvement of men in creating an inclusive culture for women in the tech sector, up significantly from 23 per cent from last year, indicating a growing recognition of the importance of male allies in fostering diversity and equality.
Joanna Kori, Head of People at Encompass Corporation, said: “Research such as this emphasises the importance of building a truly diverse workforce. Women have so much skill, experience, and expertise to bring to the table, and, if the gap is to really be bridged, it is crucial that organisations are proactive, and put the right policies and initiatives in place to attract and retain them.
“Businesses within the technology sector must continue to invest in female talent, introducing or focusing on a range of areas, such as flexible working, which can be transformative when it comes to enabling women to excel in their career development while enjoying the work-life balance that is imperative today. We must empower women in their life and wellbeing choices, as well as their work choices, and support them to reach their potential. If we are to continually see positive change, flexibility is key.”
Regarding equal pay, 63 per cent of respondents believe women and men with similar qualifications are paid equally within their organisations, though 10 per cent disagree.
The survey also highlighted a disparity in average salaries, with female participants earning an average yearly salary of around £61,640, while male participants earned an average of £86,392. This disparity is often due to women being less likely to be promoted to higher, well-paid positions or leaving the sector before reaching a higher salary range.
The tech sector has started to shift its focus from exclusively encouraging women into the industry to a broader approach, continuously adjusting and improving upon including people from different ethnicities, with different disabilities, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and those from less wealthy socio-economic backgrounds.
Progress is being made, with 41 per cent of respondents reporting their organisations to have mature DE&I strategies in place, but there remains much work to be done to improve.