Britain’s technology sector isn’t doing enough to promote gender equality, according to the women working in it.
A survey of over 6,000 women in tech by travel company Booking.com, released on Friday, found less than half (48%) believe the industry as a whole is prioritising gender diversity as part of its agenda.
On top of that, only slightly more (52%) think the company they work for is doing enough to get women into roles, according to survey.
The industry has long been under fire for its lack of women on company boards and staff. Last year, a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) revealed just 17% of all jobs, and 5% of leadership positions in tech are held by women – far lower than most other sectors.
Despite economic pressures to get more women into tech, particularly on company boards and in leadership positions, women said they do not believe current efforts are enough.
Significantly, three in five female re-entrants to tech – those who took break and returned to the industry – said taking a career break has been detrimental to their individual progression, and almost two-thirds (65%) criticised the industry for not doing more to support their re-entry to the field.
However, a rise in re-entry schemes is raising hopes. Over three in five (64%) women said these “returnships” – focused on training, re-skilling, upskilling and mentorship – are key to overcoming re-entry challenges, allowing them to build from their previous experience rather than starting from the bottom.
While two in five of those who have returned to the field said regular upskilling opportunities have been essential to their success in tech (35%), far more (64%) said they gave them the confidence to overcome re-entry issues.
“Driving greater gender diversity in tech is as much about unearthing untapped talent as it is about supporting women who have already built the skills, knowledge and expertise in our sector,” said Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com.
“Over the last 10 years there have been significant changes to drive positive progress towards making the tech industry a more gender diverse place to work. We need to make sure that we continue this momentum. Companies that prioritise inclusivity at every level and tap effectively into the existing talent pool as well as encouraging new talent will continue to grow and thrive.
“The tech industry needs to work more closely together to align on strategies to encouraging women to pursue a career in tech,” Tans added.
“Women bring tremendous value that can positively impact both tech companies and the industry globally and should be part of proactive initiatives focused on inclusivity, retention and skills development.”