A lot of children dream of growing up to become an astronaut, a veterinarian, a doctor, a famous singer or a TikTok superstar. A lot of these are merely dreams and most people end up in an industry they wouldn’t have known about as a child, such as tech. Though some children do grow up wanting to work with technology, there is still a considerable skills gap that has led to there not being enough people to fill open roles. This is largely because a lot of young people see a tech career as being out of reach, something that’s unachievable.
Young People Struggle to Break Into Tech
There are a lot of young people who would enjoy working in tech, but one missing skill or qualification holds them back. Without the right skills, breaking into the tech industry is somewhat impossible. This isn’t a problem that’s going away any time soon and, if anything, the gap between tech and digital skills is widening. In order to combat this, the tech industry needs to be marketed as an inclusive and accessible environment for all. Not only will this encourage young people to consider it as a career option, but it will help them to get the skills needed to secure a role.
There is a lack of diversity and representation in tech, which is likely to deter young people from considering it as a career option. Of the young people that do consider a career in tech, a large percentage of them are male. The lack of women interested in tech is causing the skills gap to widen.
Could Women Be the Answer to Reducing the Tech Skills Gap?
Though a number of steps have been taken to reduce the gender gap in tech, there is still a significant difference between the number of men and women in the industry. In order to change this, young people need to be inspired and encouraged to choose the tech industry, and women specifically need to feel as though it’s a welcoming and safe sector. Of course, there are women currently working in the tech industry, but it’s only a small percentage of the overall workforce.
There are a number of things that could deter women from careers in tech, such as a perceived poor work life balance and burnout. Similarly, tech is sometimes seen to be a hub for the toxic side of ‘bro’ culture. Not only does this deter women from choosing it as an industry, it lowers the retention rate of those who have already started their career path. The gender pay gap is another hurdle that women must deal with if they choose a career in tech, and this is often enough to discourage women from tech before they get started.
By combating the lack of women in tech, the tech skills gap can be reduced. A lot of women have the talent and drive needed to work in tech, but the downsides of the sector are putting them off from learning the skills to begin with. Without considering tech from a young age - something that very few women do due to the negatives of the tech industry listed above - women reach adulthood and are unable to break into the industry. With more women, the industry instantly has more skilled and talented workers to choose from.
How Can Women Be Encouraged to Join Tech?
A lot of jobs in tech are unknown to those outside of the industry, which is why education and awareness is so important. Women can be encouraged to consider tech as a career option by being exposed to STEM subjects from an early age. For example, including coding in the curriculum could be enough to inspire a love of tech amongst girls.
Companies can also do their bit to encourage women to join tech. Getting involved in the local community, reaching out to schools and spreading the word of tech to young people is sure to make a difference. All of this works to make a career in tech, and the necessary skills, seem achievable.