Young people in tech, tech careers, mthree

Former Dragon’s Den star, tech entrepreneur and diversity champion, Piers Linney, has called for more to be done to raise awareness of tech careers after new research has revealed that a lack of awareness is preventing young people from entering the technology industry.

Promisingly, the research, conducted by global emerging talent and reskill training provider, mthree, found that despite rising levels of youth unemployment, 78% of Financial services, insurance, pharmaceuticals and life sciences businesses continued hiring for entry level and graduate tech roles throughout the pandemic in 2020, while 92% are planning to do so in 2021.

Becs Roycroft, senior director at mthree, commented: “Entry level technology recruitment has remained buoyant in recent months, even while other sectors have been badly affected by the current difficult circumstances.

“Fortunately, this is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future: the tech industry is still growing rapidly and the digital skills gap is becoming a bigger problem for employers, creating an urgent need for lots of driven new talent.”

However, despite these businesses efforts to recruit young talent, the research found that only a quarter of 18-24 year olds think that technology provides excellent career opportunities, and a fifth admitted to not knowing anything about careers in technology at all.

The report also uncovered concerns regarding the industry’s lack of diversity, with 12% of female respondents showing concerns that they wouldn’t feel welcome in the industry, and a further 16% commenting that they believe the technology sector is too male-dominated.

Unfortunately, the research shows that these diversity concerns go beyond gender, as one in 10 of those from a mixed ethnic background, as well as 10% of Black respondents, expressed concerns that the industry is not ethically diverse enough. Further to this, 21% of those who identify as homosexual believe that they would not feel welcome in the sector, compared with 9% of heterosexuals.

This highlights that in addition to improving awareness of tech roles, we must also ensure businesses are creating a company culture which people from all backgrounds can connect with, to ensure they are retaining as well as attracting talent from underrepresented groups.

Following the research, former Dragon’s Den star and successful tech entrepreneur, Piers Linney, has called for more young people to explore the different career paths offered by the industry, and encouraged businesses to widen their talent pool to improve their diversity and inclusion.

“I would strongly urge young people to do their own research into the industry, even if they believe it’s not for them, as there is a good chance there’s a role they’re not aware of that could actually be a great fit, and kickstart a really fruitful career.”

Piers LinneyCommenting on the issue, he said: “It’s really clear from this research that not enough is being done to advertise the fantastic job opportunities available in the tech industry or to improve its reputation.

“This is a real shame, particularly in the current circumstances, as it means that certain demographics will continue to benefit from these opportunities more than others, contributing to the inequality that’s so rife in the UK.”

Piers continued: “Tech’s diversity problem is well-documented, so it’s understandable why lots of young people are worried that they won’t feel comfortable in the sector due to their gender, ethnicity or sexuality.

“However, there are many businesses that are genuinely committed to improving their diversity and inclusion, and they can only achieve this with greater numbers of enthusiastic applicants from underrepresented groups.

“I would strongly urge young people to do their own research into the industry, even if they believe it’s not for them, as there is a good chance there’s a role they’re not aware of that could actually be a great fit, and kickstart a really fruitful career.”


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