PwC has joined forces with 18 major organisations to help increase the number of females taking up technology careers in the UK. Today’s launch of the ‘Tech She Can Charter’ sees the industry pledge to work collaboratively across the UK to inspire young women to consider technology careers.
The Tech She Can Charter has been founded to tackle the factors behind the shortfall of women in technology roles. Currently only 23% of people working in STEM jobs are female. PwC’s research, Women in Tech: Time to Close the Gender Gap reveals that only just over a quarter (27%) of females say they would consider a career in technology, compared to 62% of males, while only 3% of females say it is their first choice of career.
The reasons why female students aren’t considering technology roles include:
Without coordinated action at school age to create a sustainable pipeline of diverse tech talent, the Tech She Can signatories believe the UK could lose its competitive edge in an increasingly technology-empowered world. This could mean not being able to meet businesses’ future technology skills needs and losing out on inward investment through a lack of suitably qualified workers.
The founding signatories include PwC, British Science Association, Business 3.0, Digital Jam, everywoman, FDisruptors, Girlguiding, InnovateHer, JP Morgan, Modern Muse, NatWest Markets, money.co.uk, Sophos, Smoothwall, TechGirls, Tech Talent Charter, Tesco, T Systems, and Zoopla Property Group. More organisations are expected to join as the campaign grows.
Sheridan Ash, Women in Tech leader at PwC and The Tech She Can Charter founder, said:
PwC in Northern Ireland already has a number of initiatives to help engage young women and increase an awareness of technology as a career. The PwC NI ‘Hive Hackers’ programme works with primary schools across the region, helping six to ten-year-olds to code and design simple computer games, while the ‘Hive Academy’ takes tech to the classroom at the next level by engaging children in App design across the region’s post-primary schools.
Already several hundred NI children have participated in Hive Hackers and the Hive Academy and the Hive Hackers programme is about to be rolled-out across the UK as part of the Tech She Can initiative.
From September 2018, Queen’s University Belfast will become one of only three universities in the UK to deliver PwC’s prestigious national technology degree apprenticeship programme. Together with the Universities of Birmingham and Leeds Queen’s will deliver a fully-funded four-year technology degree apprenticeship to give 100 students a year a degree in computer science or software engineering.
Welcoming the Tech She Can charter, Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries said:
Paul Terrington, PwC NI regional chair and head of PwC UK regions, said that gender imbalance in technology is a key issue that needs to be addressed head on:
The Tech She Can Charter has been created following research carried out by PwC into the reasons why females aren’t going into technology careers. The research was launched at The Science Museum in 2017 with the aim of bringing together different organisations to take action together to change the pipeline of women coming into technology roles.
Notes for editors.