Green shoots for Women in Tech

A plethora of studies demonstrate the impressive returns reaped from a gender diverse workforce, leadership team and inclusive culture. Figures show a 0.7% increase in turnover for companies with female board directors, growing rapidly as more women take on leadership roles, with research from the US revealing Fortune 500 companies with greater gender diversity (at least three women in leadership roles) see a 66% increase in ROI.  Companies with gender diversity also cite improved communications, innovation and boosted morale as a benefit felt across the entire workforce (Nominet). Furthermore, it is estimated the economy would benefit from an injection of £2.6 billion per year if the sector were to reach gender parity. The figures speak for themselves – gender diversity is great for people, team effectiveness, morale, business and, of course, the economy.

Yet, whilst stats for women in UK tech remain stubbornly stagnant, a deeper dive into tech interventions and industry-wide efforts coupled with a review of US tech and FTSE 100 trends, suggest a sea-change is well on its way, and that the landscape for WIT has turned a crucial corner. Let’s take a look at the progress made to date:

Consistent growth in advocacy

Business awards such as Computer Weekly’s 50 Most Influential Women in UK Tech, now in its 10th year and with a spectacular longlist of 500+, that Reshma Saujani Ted Talk addressing societal expectations, heavy hitting sector research such as the FTSE Women Leaders Review, early inclusion campaigns by the likes of STEM Women, and continued awareness and educational campaigning by not-for-profits and progressive tech firms, all offer role models, inspiration and ample networking opportunities encouraging more and more women to enter the sector.

Peter Hajittofi, CEO of Coralbay.tv, talks about the impact that advocacy and awareness raising has had on the industry and the steps his firm have taken to ensure gender neutral recruitment processes:

“It is true that at present fewer women go into tech careers than men, but thankfully that is beginning to change. We would like to increase the number of women in our technology teams further and we strive for a balanced workforce. When recruiting we ensure that the process is inclusive so that there is no bias and to ensure that we are an attractive employer to all. As the company grows, we would like more women involved in the recruitment process.”

Cultural shift

Progressive tech firms are turning the way recruitment and business is done, on its head. More and more companies are incorporating Diversity & Inclusion into their core values and shoring this up with company-wide training alongside incorporating gender parity to recruitment procedures and company policy and practice. At Corecom, for example, inclusion has been central to our vision since inception. Supporting our values, we have a formidable WIT team and ambassadors in place who act as guardians for gender diversity, hosting WIT networking events for a number of years as well as working alongside our D&I ambassadors to deliver internal and external training around issues such as unconscious bias, as well as establishing community and educational partnerships to develop and grow confidence in women’s tech skills.

And in organisations where women have successfully taken a footing in the boardroom, the cultural shift has been particularly stark. Fashion app, Depop, is an outstanding example here. With a 57% female leadership team, the business promotes gender balance from the outset with robust gender-neutral recruitment procedures in place and sets itself an annual diversity target to achieve.

 The cream of the crop

Looking beyond the tech sector to the FTSE 100, it is evident that gender balance within Senior Leadership Teams is on the up. Founded to review and increase diversity across the FTSE 350, the FTSE Women Leaders Review (Achieving Gender Balance) reported close to a 3% growth in women’s representation on FTSE 100 Boards over the course of 2021, jumping to 39.1% by year end. Almost half of all FTSE 350 Boards now have a woman in either the Chair, or Senior Independent Director roles, a trend that will most certainly filter through the business world.

 A look to the US

Jumping across the pond to the US, tech giants such as AppleFacebook and Intel have all pledged to improve the future of women in IT. The gender pay gap is reported to be smaller in tech than other sectors and women report clear opportunities for career progression.

So, what does this all mean for the UK tech market?

Corecom Consulting’s Managing Director, Jonathan Sanderson, believes significant steps have been made towards achieving a gender balance in the UK tech sector and that successes are now beginning to break through from the groundwork that has been done to date. Jonathan said:

“There is no doubt that affecting real change takes dedication, passion, and of course, patience. But the sector has worked incredibly hard over the last decade and we now have some solid foundations in place to make this a reality. We boast an amazing and ever-growing network of advocates, educators and female role models who bring with them burgeoning airtime, challenging and much needed targets, and a better way of doing business. It’s now only a matter of time before this work translates into higher levels of recruitment, retention and growth of women in tech – as already demonstrated by the FTSE 350.”

Corecom Consulting is a people-centred IT recruitment company holding the coveted Platinum Investors in People Mark. We boast a 40% female workforce and have a formidable Women in Technology (WIT) team, headed up by our WIT Ambassadors to actively encourage awareness, education and inspiration, through a wide range of networking events. Working in tandem are our dedicated Diversity & Inclusion Ambassadors who operate internally and externally to recognise, challenge and overcome misperceptions and prejudices to ensure fair and equal practices, and access to all, enabling companies to recruit rich, diverse and creative teams.

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Brandon Woodhouse