It’s no secret that the data and wider tech industry urgently lack gender diversity. In a data-fuelled world, the representation of women in tech should be a priority for all businesses and senior leaders. If the future is data-driven, then women need to play a central role.
Currently, only 18% of today's data science roles(opens new window) are occupied by women and 11% of data teams don't have any women in them at all, resulting in a bias built into data-directed insights and analyses that end up influencing critical business decisions. Not only is this damaging to over half the consumer population, but it’s also detrimental to businesses who fail to capitalise on a wider ranging pool of viewpoints, thinking patterns and skills. The lack of representation is reflected in senior roles too.
A survey conducted by HackerRank found that 20.4%(opens new window) of women over the age of 35 in the tech sector remain in junior level positions. In 2020, 43% of new starters on our Level 4 Data Apprenticeship were women, compared to just 15% of Data Scientists nationwide(opens new window). Diverse companies have been consistently proven to generate more revenue, so why are they not doing more to drive change? Or rather what obstacles are we facing in making that happen?
On a personal level, being a woman in STEM has been difficult. I have felt ill-fitted, different, often alienated, in an environment that failed to include me sufficiently so that I could reach my full potential. It's no wonder women, like me, choose not to enter the tech and data industries or if they do, tend to leave for alternative career paths. After all, who wants to work in a role where they constantly have to prove they belong?
Personally, and I think this is true for many, my professional growth has always been associated with the support available to me, either from colleagues, advisors or any other encouraging influences in my life. At Multiverse, the importance of coaching is understood and ingrained into the culture of the apprenticeships.
It’s not easy to encourage women to work in tech and it’s even harder for them to break through the glass ceiling and evolve into leaders within their companies. Admittedly, this creates a cycle where the lack of representation in managing roles discourages younger women from pushing forward. But even though more companies are attempting to address the issue and create opportunities for women to start or accelerate their careers, there’s still a lot more that needs to be done to deliver system change.
It means reinforcing and reminding them of their potential and worth when they are doubting themselves. It means challenging them and pushing them to believe in more, strive for more and eventually achieve more. It’s a huge privilege, and vitally important to the future of the tech industry to empower the next generation of female leaders in tech, and that’s exactly what you get to do, day in, day out, as a Data Coach at Multiverse.