Tech Industry Needs Girls

Posted by Tilt Recruitment on June 24th, 2021

Tech Industry Needs Girls

Posted by Tilt Recruitment on June 24, 2021

The worsening digital skills shortage is costing British companies around £63bn a year. And with other countries suffering the same problem, recruiting from abroad won’t solve this.

For example, the digital marketing sector has recently seen tremendous growth, with Google analytics, Facebook advertising, and new digital tools and platforms proliferating. This growth looks set to continue, creating a huge need for workers with specific skillsets, which businesses are struggling to fill.

Mark Wright, a previous Apprentice winner, who now runs digital marketing agency Climb Online, says he finds the situation really worrying: the company has 14 roles available and has had just one application in the last month.

Digital tools and platforms were already growing exponentially pre-COVID, and numbers of workers with the skills and experience needed to work with them were failing to keep pace. This has led to a growing digital skills shortage that was further accelerated by the mass move online during COVID.

LinkedIn predicts that the next five years will see the creation of 150 million new technology jobs. Where will we find 150 million skilled workers to fill them? These skills are vital to post-COVID recovery.

Today’s young digital natives may be fluent users of new platforms, apps and devices, but they aren’t being exposed to the real-life tech roles that create them. According to the BBC, the number of teens taking GCSEs in IT subjects has dropped by 40% since 2015 – and only 20% of those students are girls.

It’s clear that the serious diversity problem in tech starts at school, and that if the sector is to overcome the skills crisis, it’s imperative to recruit more girls.

The coding industry in particular has recognised the urgent need for more workers as coding becomes crucial to almost every aspect of modern life. Organisations in the sector are reaching out to girls through various initiatives, such as Girls Who Code, Code First Girls, and Girls in Charge.

It’s vital for tech companies to embrace diversity. A better gender mix means a wider range of perspectives, skills and strengths, better problem-solving ability, and more innovative thinking, all of which are sorely needed at present.

But the responsibility to bring girls into the industry lies not only with tech companies, but also with the Government, which has the power to incentivise young people to study IT subjects. That means building digital skills into the National Curriculum, and devising national-level programmes to encourage more girls into STEM and help more women develop advanced digital skills.

Of course, the aim should not be to force women into tech to help fill the digital skill gap, but to offer them the opportunities they deserve to achieve their own ambitions, including equal participation in the growing digital economy.

Again, this is not just a national problem but a global one. Plan International reports that in almost every country, girls have less access to mobile phones and the internet and lower digital fluency than boys. Action needs to be taken worldwide to give girls the opportunities they deserve.

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