Women are more likely to leave their roles in the technology sector than men are, according to research by InnovateHer.
The education platform, which for the past five years has been working towards getting more girls interested in tech careers, found that 45% more women than men leave technology roles, and half of the women in tech roles leave before the age of 35.
While InnovateHer’s Social impact report noted that there has been an increase in the number of women working in the tech sector over the last year, Chelsea Slater, co-founder and director of InnovateHer, said it “isn’t enough”.
She said: “Our annual impact report is an important piece of research that not only highlights the work we do, but also why we do it. It’s great to see that the female tech workforce is on the rise by 7%, but this isn’t enough. We are passionate about getting out into schools and giving girls the confidence to consider a career in tech.”
The technology sector is currently in a battle for skills, with the large number of available roles outnumbering the small pool of skilled workers available to fill them.
While cloud computing, data analytics and UI/UX design and animation were top of the list for the tech skills that InnovateHer’s partners are looking for in new hires, 80% said they were more interested in candidates with soft skills rather than hard skills.
But although the industry is on the lookout for talent with a softer skillset, young people have many misconceptions about the types of skill needed to enter the sector. For example, many young women don’t think their technical skills are up to scratch for a tech career – leaving the technology sector lacking in diversity.
When it comes to students studying computer science at GCSE level, the number of girls taking the subject increased to 20% in 2022 after a drop the year before, but enthusiasm among female students is not high when it comes to technology.
Only 8% of women taking technical subjects go on to take part in a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM)-based subject at Level 4, according to InnovateHer.
The report also said 61% of girls claimed they were deterred from considering a technology career, and of the students who said a career in tech would be their first choice, only 3% are female.
Recent research has found that women are actually more likely to have retrained for a tech role than men, often choosing a different discipline throughout education before later deciding to develop their tech skillset, although many people in their late teens or early 20s feel like it’s “too late” to go into tech.
InnovateHer focuses on encouraging teenage students from under-represented backgrounds to pursue STEM careers, and half of its students said taking part in its courses made them more confident about the idea of going into tech. The education providers aims to reach one million young people with its courses and resources over the next 10 years to increase the diversity of the tech sector.
Slater added: “The team have been having many discussions about how we leverage our influence to help young people, not just with skills to help them get into a STEM career, but in raising their self-belief, their confidence and their resilience, while supporting our partners to become more inclusive places to work, so that the next generation are happier and healthier when they get there.”