Diversity challenge

‘Overlooked’ women leaving technology sector

Joy Lewis
Joy Lewis: removing barriers is imperative

Women are leaving the technology sector because of difficulty achieving promotion or being taken seriously by investors, according to new data.

A study shows one in five women leaves the sector, while the issue is even more acute in Scotland where 23% (one in four) quit technology roles.

The data, compiled by London-based tech consultancy Trachet, also reveals that 28% of women working in the sector in Scotland believe large-scale investors do not consider them a viable investment opportunity. About 10% of company founders said they had been denied investment based on their gender.

More than half, 53%, felt they had to work twice as hard as similarly qualified male colleagues to be promoted.

The findings follow a study by industry body Tech Nation that found the proportion of men and women being appointed directors of tech firms across the UK has remained almost exactly the same since 2000.

Claire Trachet, chief executive of Trachet, said: “Female founders in Scotland are seeing their fair access to finance blocked. There is also an evident trend of women in the workforce more generally choosing to leave their chosen sector due to a lack of diversity in the higher ranks.”

The Scottish government made a manifesto commitment to invest £50 million to “promote women entrepreneurs” over the next five years, but Ms Trachet said that the Stem sector — science, technology, engineering and maths — needed to do more.

“It is a deep-rooted trend,” she said.

A number of women-focused investment groups, such as Investing Women, which runs the AccelerateHER competition, and Mint Ventures, have made some progress in supporting female entrepreneurs, particularly in the life sciences sector.

There are also a number of female-focused business awards schemes, such as the Women’s Enterprise Scotland Awards.

Joy Lewis, chief executive of AAI EmployAbility, an Edinburgh-based social enterprise recruitment firm, told The Sunday Times: “With a growing demand for staff in the Stem sector, efforts towards removing barriers for young women are imperative.”

EIE launches tech survey

The EIE Scottish Startup Survey 2022 launches today, with the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre asking Scottish startup and scale-up founders and CEOs about investor engagement, growth strategy, economic outlook, Scottish ecosystem support, hiring plans, returning to the office, and new ways of working post-pandemic.  

The Scottish Startup Survey has been running since 2017 in association with the Freer Consultancy, and targets a sample of Scottish tech companies drawn from both the EIE alumni and the wider startup community in Scotland.

The EIE investor readiness programme delivered by the Bayes Centre has helped over 540 companies raise more than £1.1 billion since 2008.  

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While the 2021 survey had a strong focus on the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic, this year’s survey will examine how startups are navigating their way out of pandemic times.  

Karen Wood, director of enterprise, Bayes Centre, said: “The last couple of years have been challenging for so many in business, including in the startup world, but we know that startups are a resilient and creative breed, and that investors continue to invest in innovation – all themes we expect to come through in this year’s survey.”



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