Girls in Coding

By Yvonne Conroy and Holly Murphy
Friday, 24 April, 2015


#GirlsinCoding

Last week, QAWorks attended recruitment firm Monster’s "Girls in Coding" event.  The event had an impressive turn out, with standing room only, and it is clear that the topic of gender imbalance in I.T is something that many organisations are passionate about. 

The two all female panels discussed topics relating to the barriers to entry for women in I.T and the reasons that women are leaving the industry in droves. They also provided some interesting views on how business decision makers and recruiters can think outside the box and encourage more women to consider and apply for roles in technology. It is a shared responsibility of governments, industry, schools and clubs, as well as parents to help change the status quo and do more to encourage young girls to consider roles in I.T.  Increasingly, technology affects everything that we do regardless of our underpinning interests, and this is not restricted to just half the population!   

Despite having one of the smallest gender pay gaps, the I.T. industry still struggles to attract and retain women.  According to Nesta, women currently account for less than 20 per cent of the UK’s ICT workforce, and Monster reports that as few as 10% of php and ruby-on-rails developers in the UK are women.  In more senior roles, the gap becomes even wider, with very few women holding senior management positions.  This is an issue that all sectors are experiencing, but is particularly evident in technology.  Companies with more women at board level significantly out-perform those without and there are significant economy-wide benefits to be had by a greater presence of female talent at senior levels. 

QAWorks continue to make positive steps in closing the gender gap.  We are proud of the fact that women make up more than 40% of our team, nearly double the industry average of 22% according to the 2014 Women in IT Scorecard (bcs.org).  Even if we remove the non-technical roles from our figure, we would STILL (at 28%) remain well above the industry average, despite this no longer being a like for like comparison.  Having a diverse workforce is about more than just meeting quotas.  We benefit from a wealth of distinctive ideas, experience, knowledge, and opinions that have helped shape this company.

Nevertheless, we are committed to doing more.  We have consciously considered the importance of fostering a female friendly work culture and have taken real steps to achieve this.  Sometimes, though, it’s the simple things that make a big difference; for example, wording job descriptions to be more inclusive, and ensuring that our LinkedIn careers page features both men and women.  We recognise that there is always room for improvement and we continue to look for opportunities to continue on this journey – in this respect the "Girls in Coding" event has given us much food for thought.  

 
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