The UK government has released a discouraging report, showing that only 25% of people working in the technology sector are women, a number that’s actually gone down over the past ten years.
The UK government report, published by the Commission for Employment and Skills, looked at opportunities and challenges in the digital sector, and found that the number of women in the field has declined from 33% in 2002 down to 25% today. That means that half of the population is severely underrepresented in one of the fastest growing fields of this century, and one that’s often heralded as the principle job market of the future.
This is despite’ the field’s overall growth and the numerous statements by companies and governments alike that are seemingly promoting STEM education to young girls and women. It’s also despite the fact that, according to this report, the industry will need an additional 1.2 million people to fill jobs by 2022.
As for the causes, they seem to be many and complex. The Register, which first covered this report, blames “dick-swinging bearded hipsters”, though we’d argue hostile work environments, societal prejudices and inane comments are likely a bit closer to the mark.
Still, whatever the causes, it’s clear that the sector has a big problem overall. Google, for example, admitted that only 17% of its workforce was female. Microsoft is seemingly doing better, at 28%, though filtering that by tech-only jobs results in a laughable 16.6%. Interestingly enough, Microsoft just announced a new partnership with the Scottish government to address some of these issues. Whether this time it works, remains to be seen.
Here’s hoping this improves, and sooner rather than later.
We've asked Microsoft for comment on this story and will update this article with their reply.