Technology is a booming industry in the United Kingdom, accounting for 12.5% of the country’s GDP and creating jobs at nearly three times the rate of the rest of the economy. However, only 17% of these jobs goes to women, according to a recent research by The Tech Partnership, an organisation focused on developing skills for the UK’s Digital Economy.
This gender imbalance was at the core of the discussions held at ‘17%-Banking on Diversity in Tech’, an afternoon conference organised by Lloyds Banking Group in association with Digital Leaders on November 2nd in London. The event featured panels and speeches from women change-makers in the fields of business and technology such as Sue Unerman, author of “The Glass Wall” -a book about gender imbalances in the workplace- ,and Julianne Miles, Co-Founder of Women’s Returners, an organisation that helps women return to the job market.
One of the highlights was the opening speech by Jacqueline de Rojas, Chair of Digital Leaders. Jacqueline pointed out the mismatch between the UK’s high demand for skilled workers for the Tech industry and the underrepresentation of women in the same area.
“The most critical area is encouraging women to get into the Tech industry. Take a look at gaming, for an example. 50% of gamers are female and yet less than 7% of women make up the development site of the gaming industry. So, who is creating what and for whom? That’s an opportunity. We have an urgent skills gap and we must turn to the women,”said Jacqueline de Rojas.
Besides attracting more women for technology careers, Jacqueline believes a change in mentality is needed in the corporate world in order for the advancement of women to leadership positions can be seen not only as a plea for diversity’s sake, but in terms of business benefit and productivity.
“One woman on the board of a business can reduce the risk of bankruptcy by 20% and that percentage increases the more women you have on the team. We should all look at diversity and inclusion in terms of business benefit and productivity,”concluded de Rojas.
This article was originally published here, and was reposted with permission.