Despite the UK tech sector growing to 1.73 million, the number of female employees in the industry dipped between the first and second quarters of 2023.
That’s according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, which show the number of women working in technology was 3,000 fewer in the three months from April to June compared to the period January to March.
Overall, the sector saw an increase of 85,000 employees during this timeframe, prompting tech leaders to question whether caution over spending amid economic uncertainty may have disproportionately affected women in the sector.
“Tech companies should continue to focus on tackling the barriers for women entering the tech field, and showcase the steps they are taking to prove their commitment and heighten the attractiveness of the field,” comments Senna Baillie, Director of Community at VeUP.
“A career in tech means that not every day is the same, presenting new challenges and opportunities to learn and grow. Tech companies should mirror this and, in turn, cultivate an all-encompassing culture that encourages development and inclusiveness, bettering attitudes across the board.”
Serious questions over barriers facing women in tech
However, the past year in particular has seen the number of women in tech fluctuate, with a low of 447,000 in the first quarter of last year to a high of 532,000 in its third quarter.
Worryingly, the latest decline follows a drop of 17,000 between Q4 of 2022 and Q1 of 2023, raising serious questions over the barriers facing women across the industry, including a lack of visible role models and unconscious bias in hiring.
Joanna Kori, Head of People at Encompass Corporation, adds: "While technology-focused skills and expertise remain in demand, this underlines there is work to be done to bridge the gap, ensuring a truly inclusive industry with a diverse workforce.
“Women have so much to offer, and organisations within the technology sector must continue to invest in female talent in order to see the benefits.
"To attract and retain females, it’s important that businesses are proactive and put the right policies and initiatives in place. This includes focusing on areas such as flexible working, which can be transformative when it comes to enabling women – and all employees – to excel in their careers while enjoying a positive work-life balance.”
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