Why is the number of women in digital jobs falling?
If you didn’t know already, Britain is expected to need 1.2m additional digital professionals by 2022 and today, women are still outnumbered by men at least three to one in over half (53%) of UK digital tech companies according to Tech Nation’s 2017 report.
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A new study on Women in Digital Age reports that there is a growing gap between men and women’s participation in the digital sector in education, career and entrepreneurship.
The study was launched by the European Commission and found that despite the growing demand for ICT specialists and digital profiles, the percentage of Europeans with ICT-related education is decreasing. Although this is common for both genders, there are fewer women than men who are taking up ICT related jobs and education.
The findings from the study were:
- There are 4 times more men than women in Europe with ICT-related studies.
- The share of men working in the digital sector is 3.1 times greater than the share of women.
- The annual productivity loss for the European economy of women leaving their digital jobs to become inactive is calculated to be around EUR 16.2 billion.
- Although female owned start-ups are more likely to be successful, there is decrease in participation, leadership and investment in the entrepreneurial digital sector.
But why’s this the case?
“Data trends and qualitative analysis suggest that gender inequality in the digital sphere is essentially a result of the persistence of strong unconscious biases about what is appropriate and what capacities each gender has, as well as about the technologies themselves which requires a fundamental cultural change” (Source).
It is common that young girls put off taking up an education in ICT fields because of reasons like lack of inspiration and role models. From a young age, boys are led down different career paths as they are encouraged to play with robots, spaceships and gadgets whilst girls tend to be offered princesses or animals.
It has also been highlighted that at the moment, “the most popular jobs for women in digital are in marketing, communications and client facing roles where the gender gap has been closing significantly in social media, public relations and communications positions. However, the male to female ratio of candidates in more technical positions such as PPC, SEO and product roles is a stark contrast, with a significant weighting towards men” (Source).
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