Leading organisations join PwC to help boost opportunities for females in technology

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:

  • A technology career is not being offered as an option
  • Girls aren’t given enough information at school about what working in technology involves
  • There is an absence of female role models.

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:

 

“Waiting until women enter work is simply too late. To boost the number of females in technology we need coordinated action to inspire school-age girls to consider technology careers.

 

“By working collaboratively we can reach more females at an earlier stage of their lives and raise awareness about the exciting range of technology roles in a sector that has the power to change the world.

 

“Promoting visible and relevant role models is a huge part of this, as it’s hard for girls to aspire to be something they can’t see. There are many brilliant women working in technology right across the UK and we need to increase their visibility and influence. 

 

“We welcome other organisations to sign up to our Charter to help share the message that technology is a career that’s open to everyone.”

 

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:

 

“We want to be at the forefront of tackling the gender imbalance in the tech workforce and make sure the fantastic opportunities on offer are available to everyone.

 

“The UK government has recently signed the Tech Talent Charter, which focuses on increasing the gender diversity of those already working in tech roles, and we welcome PwC's new initiative to target and inspire the talent of tomorrow."

 

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:

 

“Technology is changing our lives and transforming the planet. But the sector and people in the technology roles that create and drive these changes must reflect wider society with products and technology advances that reflect and address the problems and opportunities faced by society.

 

“The demand for technology skills already at critical levels and will continue to grow – probably at the expense of other, traditional employment. Consequently we need embrace a theme of technology by default in order to build a diverse and inclusive pipeline of technology to position UK businesses at the forefront of global innovation and investment.”

 

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.

Ends.

 

Notes for editors.

  1. For more information on The Tech She Can Charter, the signatories, and how to get involved please visit www.pwc.co.uk/techshecan
  2. The Tech She Can founding Charter signatories are signing up to the following actions:
  • Develop technology toolkits and collectively work with schools across the UK and to educate and inspire pupils to consider a career in technology 
  • Maximise our impact by targeting schools in the Government’s social mobility ‘cold spots’ 
  • Celebrate and promote our successful women in tech role models
  • Ensure inclusive access to technology roles in our own organisations
  • Support an environment intended to attract, recruit and retain females

Contact us

John Compton
Corporate Affairs, Northern Ireland and Deputy Head of UK Media Relations, PwC United Kingdom
Tel: +44(0)7799 346 925
Email

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