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Numbers rise by a third

Females now account for a quarter of Scottish tech jobs

Julie Grieve

Julie Grieve: diversity needs to be a business goal (pic: Terry Murden)


Females now account for almost a quarter of workers in the Scottish tech sector following a rise in the number of recruits in the last two years, according to new data.

Analysis of the most recent ONS Annual Population Survey shows the number of women in tech has risen by 30% from 18% to 23.4% since 2016, and has more than doubled in the last eight rising from 10,300 in 2010 to 24,000 in 2018.

The data was announced to mark Ada Lovelace Day, a global celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), which is named after the woman acknowledged as being the world’s first computer programmer.

Claire Gillespie, sector manager for digital technologies at SDS, said the results show what partnership working can really achieve. “Industry, government, educationalists and charity organisations have all been working together to try and address the gender imbalance, and our concerted efforts are starting bear digital fruit,” she enthused.

Mentoring in schools; the introduction of digital skills into broader subjects such as languages, art and music; the creation of best practice guides and tool kits for employers, and a real focus by colleges and universities to address the gender gap were all cited as reasons for the positive trend.

However, Ms Gillespie believes much more still needs to be done. “Complacency will be the enemy of progress,” she warned. “The last thing we need is to take three steps forward and two steps back when tackling this very real and problematic issue.”

“We look forward to continuing our work with organisations like Girl Geek Scotland, Education Scotland, Equate, Scottish Government, ScotlandIS and, of course, the wider industry to help fill the 13,000 digital vacancies that exist in Scotland every year.”

Specific diversity plans in the coming year include a big push on mentoring and case studies; working in partnership with the charity sector to target young females, and the continued promotion and creation of digital apprenticeships.

A National Gender Conference, organised by the Scottish Funding Council, will also take place on the 25th October 2018. The event will look to widen access, improve recruitment and admissions, enhance student engagement, and reduce gender-based violence at all the countries colleges and universities.

Julie Grieve, founder and CEO at travel tech firm Criton, said: “It’s great to hear that women now represent nearly a quarter of those working within the technology sector. 

“We need to strive for diversity at all levels and organisations should ensure they are managing a talent pipeline of people who they believe can make it to the top.  Diversity needs to be a business goal which is regularly measured so adjustments can be made accordingly.

“It’s important for our industry to have role models.  As someone who attends national and international events throughout the year, it’s frustrating to see so few women on stage. 

“Organisations such as Scottish Women In Technology and Women in Tourism were conceived to support women across the sector in breaking that glass ceiling and I welcome today’s news as a step-change in achieving that.”

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