Tech firms lagging behind in advancing women

Technology firms are lagging behind in advancing women, according to a study by McKinsey and LeanIn.Org.

A laptop, mac and tablet on a deskThe report found that not only are women lacking in all levels of technology roles, but that the majority of those women believe their gender is holding them back in workplace.

The report found that women make up 36.8% of the entry-level jobs in the tech industry, whereas women account for nearly half of entry-level jobs in other industries.

The findings were a result of a report across 26 tech firms that surveyed 9,000 male and female employees.

Of the female employees questioned 29.9% said they believe their gender played a role in missing out on a promotion or pay rise. 37.1% said they feel their gender will be a disadvantage to them in the future. In non-tech industries 21.6% and 22.8% where found to feel the same way.

Discussing the report Julia Hartz, co-founder and president of online ticketing platform Eventbrite told the Wall Street Journal: "If you can’t see an example of what you could be, you really aren’t going to have that extra incentive to break through any types of barriers."

Several tech firms have launched programmes to increase the amount of women taking up careers in IT. BT, O2, Vodafone and Ericsson recently joined forces to launch a scheme to encourage girls to take up careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The programme called ‘Step into STEM’ will be working with Girls Talk London, to offer young women advice on how to reach senior business roles. The programme is currently a pilot, with the aim of rolling it out across the UK in the future.

Girls Talk London selected 20 year 12 students last month from four schools in London to take part in the mentoring programe. The schools are King Solomon Academy, St Michael’s Catholic School, Heathcote School and Our Lady’s Convent School.

The chosen few have been matched with a mentor from the four companies. They each receive one monthly session until October where they learn about their chosen roles and get advice on how to enter them. A week’s work experience at one of the companies in July will also be offered.

Teenagers coding, hacking and swapping personal info for cash on the rise

Teenagers able to code, hack and willing to swap their personal information in return for cash, are on the rise, according to a survey from Logicalis.

Teenagers coding featureAccording to the eighth annual Realtime Generation report commissioned by Logicalis UK, entitled ‘Are you ready for the age of digital enlightenment?’, 7% said they have tried hacking, equating to 1 in 14 or at least one hacker per classroom.

The survey of over 1,000 13-17 year olds found that young people spend nine hours a day online, with 93% owning a smartphone.

Of those questioned 42% said they would rather accept £15 for giving away their personal information than earn cash from a job.

Gerry Carroll, author of the report and marketing director at Logicalis UK, comments, “While some of the statistics around hacking and online behaviour may be alarming, it’s essential we recognise the economic potential of these instinctively digital teenagers.

“Whether creating new careers in an increasingly digitalised workplace, or nurturing the skills so sorely needed in the IT industry, today’s teenagers are better placed than ever before to achieve the efficiency and productivity promise of IT. Public and private sector organisations should nurture and channel these talents, creating the right opportunities for these digitally enlightened teens to deliver their true dividend.”

81% of students said they believe teachers do a great job integrating digital learning into lessons, and 60% said the ICT curriculum offers an adequate foundation for their higher education and career aspirations.

41% are taking a qualification in a computer science subject and 52% would make ICT and computer sciences mandatory - 45% of these were girls.

Of those questioned 43% said they are coding already or would like to learn how. 48% of these are girls.

64% of boys and 48% of girls said they would like to create their own apps to use on HE or company network.

Carroll added: “With numerous reports bemoaning the loss of jobs to increasingly computerised functions, this generation is busy developing the skills it needs for careers that don’t yet exist. The next decade will see an influx of employees whose capabilities will be light years ahead from our existing expectations of ‘ICT skills’.

“Able to create, build or knowledgeably commission the IT they want, today’s teenagers are a future workforce with the potential to enable and transform the UK’s digital economy.”

The top three career options for boys were IT & Information Management (28%), Manufacturing & Engineering (23%), Science & Research (21%). The top three for girls were Education & Training (18%), Medicine & Nursing (18%), Science & Research or Arts, Crafts & Design (15%).

BT, O2, Vodafone and Ericsson team up to launch ‘Step into STEM’ scheme

Kayleigh Bateman

BT, O2, Vodafone and Ericsson have joined forces to launch a scheme to encourage girls to take up careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Step into STEMThe programme called ‘Step into STEM’ will be working with Girls Talk London, to offer young women advice on how to reach senior business roles.

BT director of field, business and ethernet connections at Openreach Paula Constant said: “This scheme could make a real difference in encouraging girls to apply for jobs that require STEM skills. Research shows that even though girls study the relevant subjects in school, only a minority go on to pursue careers in this area.”

O2 chief operating officer Derek McManus said: “Our research revealed that many girls haven’t yet considered a career in tech or STEM and it’s an issue which is becoming deeply engrained from a young age.

“Far too many young people maintain the belief that these types of careers are most suited to men. Clearly there are some outdated myths that need busting.”

The programme is currently a pilot, with the aim of rolling it out across the UK in the future.

Girls Talk London selected 20 year 12 students last month from four schools in London. The schools are King Solomon Academy, St Michael’s Catholic School, Heathcote School and Our Lady’s Convent School.

The chosen few have been matched with a mentor from the four companies. They each receive one monthly session until October where they learn about their chosen roles and get advice on how to enter them. A week’s work experience at one of the companies in July will also be offered.

Female political scientists launch Women Also Know Stuff database

The political science community has launched a list of women willing to offer their expertise in conference panels, roundtables and press quotations called Women Also Know Stuff.

The crowdsourced list aims to provide an easily accessible database of female political scientists with expertise in various topics. database-1189982_640 political scientists

The project was created after members of the group were outraged by media reports on politics very rarely citing female experts. A story posted by news site Vox recently said "We asked six political scientists if Bernie Sanders would have a shot in a general election” however, the article failed to ask the opinion of even a single woman or scholar of color.

A review of international relations scholarships revealed that women are consistently cited less often than men. Furthermore, a different study found that male authors are less likely to cite the work of female scholars than female authors.

Event organisers have been known to defend all-male panels by claiming they do not know female experts to include in conferences or debates.

Seeking female political scientists

The Women Also Know Stuff database aims to solve this issue by making female political scientists accessible for such opportunities. It aims to make it easier to find female scholars and their work online.

The group are encouraging female political scientists to register their details on thei database, to ensure women in the community are easily found when recruiting for events, debates or expert comment for an article in the media.

The site was put live less than a week ago, and has already had hundreds of submissions from females within the community and thousands of page views.

If you are a female poltical scientist, or you know someone who should be included on this database, you can submit your information to Women Also Know Stuff using this GoogleForm.

Dame Wendy Hall and Baroness Martha Lane-Fox made Distinguished Fellows by BCS

Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho have been made Distinguished Fellows by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

Both were presented with their awards by HRH, The Duke of Kent, BCS Patron at the Institute’s annual dinner recently.

The announcement means Dame Wendy Hall and Baroness Lane-Fox join the likes of Bill Gates, Sir Tim Berners Lee and Vint Cerf in the distinction.

Dame-Wendy-Hall-thumbDame Wendy Hall is a Professor of Computer Science and Executive Director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton.  She was Dean of the Faculty of Physical Science and Engineering from 2010 to 2014.

She was one of the first computer scientists to undertake serious research in multimedia and hypermedia, with her current research including applications of the Semantic Web and exploring the interface between the life sciences and the physical sciences. She is Managing Director of the Web Science Trust.

Paul Fletcher, BCS Group CEO, said: “This honour is not only to recognise Professor Dame Wendy Hall as one of the most influential people in IT, both in the UK and world-wide, but also for her tireless work in championing women in technology for more than thirty years. The influence of Wendy’s work has been significant in many areas including digital libraries, the development of the Semantic Web, and the emerging research discipline of Web Science.”

Professor Dame Wendy Hall said: “I am delighted and deeply honoured to receive this award.  When I joined the BCS many years ago as a junior lecturer at the University of Southampton, I never imagined I would ever join the ranks of such a distinguished group.  There is no doubt that being a member of BCS played a significant part in the development of my career, and I am very privileged to be able to accept this award.”

Baroness Martha Lane FoxBaroness Martha Lane-Fox is renowned for co-founding website with Brent Hoberman in 1998. She was also the UK Digital Champion, appointed by the government, from June 2010 until November 2013.

Last year she founded a national organisation, committed to making the UK brilliant in the network age. She was appointed a crossbench peer in the House of Lords in 2013 and in 2014 she was appointed Chancellor of the Open University. In addition she is chair of the digital skills charity Go ON UK.

In 2015 Martha joined the board of the Creative Industries Federation, the Scale up institute and the Open Data Institute. Martha has also founded her own charitable foundation and serves as a Patron of AbilityNet, Reprieve, Camfed and Just for Kids Law.

Fetcher said: “Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho has inspired many people through her extensive work. This honour recognises her distinguished career in IT as a business woman. Our purpose at BCS is making IT good for society and we believe that Martha is an embodiment of this philosophy with her work in successfully developing new technology services, her commitment to digital inclusion and championing new approaches to public policy to ensure that no one gets left behind in this digital age.”

Martha Lane Fox said: “I am delighted to be honoured by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. We are moving very fast from an industrial age to a network age that presents great opportunities but also new challenges and ethical choices. The UK’s future economic prosperity and social well-being are critically dependent upon our being a world leader in the new network age. I passionately believe that promoting and protecting the original promises of the internet - openness, transparency, freedom and universality – are essential if we are to harness the full potential of the internet and that we must ensure everyone in the UK has the digital skills needed to benefit from the network age.”


Female Entrepreneur in meeting

Young people still see IT sector as industry for men


The IT sector is still very much seen as an industry better suited for men according to new research from O2 revealing the attitudes among young people. Female Entrepreneur in meeting - IT sector

A study of 2,000 young people aged four to 18, by the communications provider, revealed that industry stereotypes are still very much alive.

47% of respondents aged between 11 and 18 said the tech sector is more suited for men. Only 4% thought that women were better suited to tech jobs. Half of children aged four to 10 believe men are better suited to engineer roles.

Just under as third of those surveyed said men make better scientists. 10% said women were better suited than men for the role of scientist. In addition more than a quarter of said the role of UK prime minister was better taken by a man.

The research found that parents plays a significant role in how children perceive careers, with 84% admitting to asking their parents for career advice. 73% of those surveyed said they would like to hear from businesses about jobs in local industry sector. More than half said they have not heard from local businesses in the past year.

“It is worrying to see just how deeply ingrained gender stereotypes still are, with many young people still impacted by the archaic ideals that may have held back their parents or grandparents from rewarding roles.”

Ann Pickering, O2’s HR director and a female board member of the company, said: “It is worrying to see just how deeply ingrained gender stereotypes still are, with many young people still impacted by the archaic ideals that may have held back their parents or grandparents from rewarding roles.”

Pickering drew attention to the fact that more than half of the four to 10 year old boys surveyed thought girls were more suited to jobs such as hairdressing, nursing and being a nanny.

O2 recently partnered with charity Speakers for Schools, which works to give UK children access to talks given by industry leaders. Robert Peston, founder of Speakers for Schools, said: “These are shocking findings. It is vital that gender should have no bearing on what our young people choose to do in life.”


Accenture teams up with Stemettes to showcase careers in STEM to 1,800 girls


Careers in STEMAccenture has teamed up with not-for-profit Stemettes to host a series of events, next week, to encourage more girls to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Taking place on January 28th, across five different locations, girls aged between 11 and 15 will take part in coding workshops, and hear from speakers such as Naomi Mitchison, an IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year, and Carrie Bishop, director of Futuregov. The girls will also hear from representatives from the BBC and women in gaming.

The girls will take part in a hackathon, led by Stemettes, where they will compete using the Hakitzu Code Warriors game which requires JavaScript to choose weapons of choice.

The ‘Girls in STEM’ events will take place in London, Dublin, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Manchester reaching 1,800 students. In London and Newcastle, the attendees will participate in a crypto-analysis and code breaking workshop developed by the FBI to give an insight into digital forensics and cyber security. A virtual reality workshop and a Minecraft ‘hack jam’ which makes use of the Raspberry Pi and Python programming language will also take place.

The events follow on from Accenture’s own workshop that ran in January 2015 and was attended by 300 students.

Accenture and the Confederation of British Industry release a report last year which found despite the number of STEM vacancies rising, 46% of respondents reported a lack of skills needed to fill the positions.

AN additional Accenture survey revealed that 60% of girls aged 12 fell STEM subjects are too difficult to learn.

“It is a serious concern that girls believe that STEM subjects are too hard to learn, so the aim of our events is to showcase the applicability of these skills through interactive workshops,” said Emma McGuigan, senior managing director for Accenture Technology in the UK and Ireland.

“The speakers and workshops across the UK and Ireland aim to inspire girls and educate them about the amazing possibilities open to them.”

Olly Benzecry, country managing director for Accenture in the UK and Ireland, said: “By expanding our STEM events to five locations in 2016, we hope to encourage even more girls to commit to studying STEM subjects.

“As an employer providing STEM-based jobs, we are committed to supporting the work the government is already doing to ensure young people are excited about careers in STEM.”

"We're excited to be partnering with Accenture for the second year in a row to run such a large event for girls in STEM”, said Anne-Marie Imafidon, Stemettes.

“This year the strong attendance at so many locations shows the need for these events nationally. I'm excited to be bringing these girls on their own personal Stemette journeys, hopefully ending up in industry."

Sarah Thomas of Accenture takes the "wild card" job in tech and it pays off

Sarah Accenture Image featuredSarah Thomas always knew she wanted to work in medicine and science but after taking a “wild card” job application at Accenture she found herself in a position to take advantage of the transferable skills STEM (science, technology. engineering and maths) had to offer.

Now Managing Director, Marketing and Communications, Accenture Operations, at IT giant Accenture her career has taken her from technology to medicine and back.

She said it was the science side of medicine that first interested her at a young age: “My career wasn’t planned from an early age, but I knew I wanted to go into medicine and science and decided on pathology. I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor, so I decided to go down the science route as I had a fascination with viral diseases specifically HIV.

“It was a wild card job application at the time when I went into consulting at Accenture. That’s where I learnt about coding and programming, at Anderson Consulting, which later became Accenture.”

After a few years at Accenture ,Thomas said science was still calling her: “I went back to science and to Vienna to do my doctorate, and I worked on HIV and gene therapies at Novartis. I have always been fascinated by the way viruses evolve and the devastating impact they have on the human body.”

She later came back to London to take her Postdoctural Research Fellow specialising in cancer research at Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and then worked at the Medical Research Council.

“Then I was looking for something with a bit more of a dynamic environment and I had experience of the business world, so I ended up back at Accenture,” she added. “Networking was a big point there, as I had stayed in touch with past colleagues who let me know about available opportunities.”

Thomas said the bonus of working in STEM is that “you’re not judged in science for your gender. All that matters is that you’re an expert in your field. I haven’t found it a challenge being a woman in technology or sicence, as I’ve had some strong advocates and mentors in my career along the way.”

Accenture’s women’s network is called Accent on Gender which offers support for its female community. Accenture’s diversity agenda also features a Women’s Mentoring and Maternity Programme, a Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) programme and International Women’s Day events.

Accenture has been working hard on increasing the amount of females in senior positions at the company, with a record 723 new managing directors and senior managing directors as of December 2015. Women now account for more than 28% of new managing directors and senior managing directors, a figure that is up from 21% in 2014.

There are now more than 130,000 women at Accenture, with the firm having pledged to grow the percentage of its new women hires by 40% worldwide by 2017.

Last year 39% of Accenture’s 100,00 new hires worldwide were women.

Thomas said it is not just the women at Accenture that are in support of diversity: “There are a lot of male champions at Accenture. Having male and female mentors is great, if you can secure them, as males will always tell me how it is whether I want to hear it or not. For example, if you’re over thinking something or you are not ready for a promotion.

“You need someone who has your back and who has your best interest at heart, but will tell it to you straight too. You need both strong women and men as support as both have different tactics.”

She has also on the board of not-for-profit Dress for Success and believes that you do not have to “box yourself in” when it comes to defining your role or career.

“You have to go out and grab what’s available to you. If opportunities are there and you think you have strengths that would be suited on a particular project then you should get involved, whether it’s on your own team or across the company,” said Thomas.

She advised making a plan: “I take time to map a ‘relationships map’, which is where I make a line graph to detail people you want to meet or get to know better. I don’t immediately call them all up, but I try to make a point to sit next to them at a dinner or event or I get involved in a project that I know that person will be working on. If you make a map then it’s more front of mind.”

15 per cent discount to Women of Silicon Roundabout 2016 for WeAreTheCity readers

WeAreTheCity readers are entitled to a 15% discount to attend the Women of Silicon Roundabout 2016 event in January.

Using the code WATC15 WeAreTheCity readers receive a discount for the women in technology conference taking place in London on January 28th.Woman of silicon Roundabout 2016 Feature

Organised by Maddox Events, Women of Silicon Roundabout 2016 will offer the female technology community a day of panels and presentations to offer a voice for all those working within the industry.

The event will hear from senior technicians and engineers about their journeys so far and their perspectives for the future.

The Lead Producer of Women of Silicon Roundabout 2016, said: “This topic comes up, year on year, without major change ever occurring. Women of Silicon Roundabout 2016 aims to break this trend by supercharging the motivation and ambition of our community.

“We hope to fast-track female code slingers to managerial positions and ultimately the Boardroom.”

The agenda for the day is broken into four primary focus areas:
  • Women in Tech Leadership
  • Closing The Gender Gap
  • The Journey of a Coder
  • Inspiring Future Generations of Women in Tech

You can find out more information about this event and how to register here.

TeenTech holds event to inspire next generation of scientists, technologists and engineers

Over 500 year 8 and year 9 students descended on London’s Olympic Park for the TeenTech City event this week.TeenTech week

200 scientists, technologists and engineers gathered to showcase the rich and fulfilling careers available in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem).

Challenges were set for the students by organisations such as Barclays, BBC, Cisco, National Grid, Atkins, JVC and Samsung.

Speaking at the event, founder of TeenTech, Maggie Philbin said: “There’s a huge amount of young talent all over the UK, and yet a generation still sits in the classroom convinced subjects like maths and physics are irrelevant. TeenTech City captures the imagination of those who at one time would have dismissed a career in science – allowing them to walk away with a real understanding of how they can make a difference to the world of tomorrow.

“We owe a huge amount to the brilliant companies and universities who came together to make today an outstanding catalyst – helping students see how creative and exciting this contemporary industry can be."

Mark Boleat, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation, sponsors of the TeenTech City Event, said: “The capital is really leading the way when it comes to digital innovation, and in particular, financial technology. There are currently more FinTech employees in London and the southeast than the whole of California.

“To maintain our global position as the leading financial centre, it is vital to develop and maintain a high-skilled workforce. Events like this really help educate young people about careers in the technology and science sectors and hopefully inspire them to become the innovators of tomorrow.”

Ms Feione Cooper Art & Design Teacher at The Urswick School said: “Our school first participated in TeenTech in 2011 and ever since we have never looked back. STEM workshops are an opportunity to push the boundaries and create new initiatives in an explorative and exciting way – and the students leave thinking of different ways they can execute ideas collectively.”

The students were surveyed when they arrived at the event, with 57% saying they would consider a career in engineering. At the end of the event this figure had rose to 71%. Only seven per cent said they were considering an apprenticeship after school.