One of the main challenges hindering innovation in the technology industry is the lack of diversity in the sector. Tomorrow’s Tech Leaders aims to address this gender gap by inspiring the next generation of female graduates to pursue a career in technology
On 30th January this year in Grosvenor House Hotel, London, Information Age in partnership with Yoox Net-A-Porter Group hosted the largest technology careers fair for women for the fourth year: Tomorrow’s Tech Leaders.
The lack of diversity in the technology industry is quite staggering. According to the Office of National Statistics, only 3.9% of people working in tech and telcos are female software developers and engineers – a figure that is down from 10% in 2007.
This is bad news because IT and technology companies are missing out on the innovation and talent they can offer. It’s also harming their bottom-lines, according to McKinsey Global Institute, the UK’s gender gap in work is estimated to cost the economy £150 billion by 2025 in GDP.
Events like this one are essential for fighting this issue. The free-to-attend event hosted numerous female graduates and job-seekers, providing the opportunity to network with employers and learn of exclusive job vacancies.
Networking and career guidance
Before networking, Iain McFadyen, Global Early Careers Recruiting Lead at the London Stock Exchange Group, discussed essential tips for getting on tech graduate schemes, which held particular relevance for the audience.
He explained that tailoring applications to a specific company, and displaying a passion for the role or industry was crucial for successful applications. He also said just because your not “super techie” doesn’t mean your skills will not be useful in this sector.
According to research by PwC, only 3% of female students currently considering a career in tech. But with so many opportunities and possibilities for women in the tech sector right not, it begs the question: why is this so?
Arguably, it’s because there are too many negative stereotypes associated with the industry, mainly surrounding the types of roles available and whether they are accessible to women. Socially engineered stereotypes of the tech industry, its history of male dominance and women’s perceived place within it have also significantly dampened diversity and belief.
Speaking at the event, Irene Boni, Ad Interim Chief Technology Officer at YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP, reflected on her own career and explained why a job in tech means so much more than people commonly think.
Many of the other speakers from the event echoed this viewpoint to the female graduates in the audience. Some even argued that not coming from a traditional tech background is, arguably, an advantage, because those candidates realise business value. Technology should ultimately be used to enhance business value, but for most “techies” this is not at the forefront of their minds.
“Ultimately, we want to find the best talent out there, and we feel we’d be missing out if we didn’t try to attract women, said Boni during her speech. “Women have numerous intrinsic characteristics that make them really well suited to technology. We are adaptable, resilient, dedicated, creative and empathetic. We can connect with people and understand them beyond their words.”
Creating such as female-inclusive workforce came with its challenges. According to Boni, to create such an open environment, they had to break a lot of barriers. Starting with the recruitment process, they tried to remove any terminology from job descriptions that might put women off, and they also strived to provide flexible working options.
The Tech Talent Charter and it’s mission to tackle gender imbalance