The science and technology sector has been a historically male-dominated industry, writes Jenny Briant, Academy Operations Director at Ten10.

With traditional work structures, entering a STEM role has been dictated by your higher education such as a degree or apprenticeship. Unfortunately, neither of these routes is currently enticing and opening enough doors to women.

Only 35% of STEM degrees are currently achieved by women in the UK. And apprenticeships aren’t any better with only 14,110 women starting a STEM apprenticeship in 2021/22 compared with 84,200 men. The fact is, encouraging more women into STEM roles isn’t going to happen overnight and there has to be a cultural shift where science and technology aren’t seen as a man’s game. There have undoubtedly been massive strides in the last two decades to reduce the perception that STEM roles are primarily a male domain, but given just how wide the inequality still is, clearly enough hasn’t been done. Ultimately, awareness around women working in the sector starts with early education.

Change the way you talk about tech in job listings

Ensuring that language used to describe roles such as scientists and IT technicians doesn’t have typically ‘male’ connotations will sow the seeds for girls to see these opportunities as desirable and achievable. As well as this, encouraging female role models into the public eye and into more high-profile roles will also give young girls someone to look up and aspire to. Sparking a desire to take on these subjects will boost the number of those studying STEM subjects and as a result encourage more women into such roles.

However, we also need methods that target women who may already be working and aren’t aware of the potential opportunity of a career in the technology industry. In the past, there has been the assumption that unless you have a Bachelor of Science or Technology, you can’t find work in these sectors but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all route into the technology industry.

Making new routes to a role in tech 

Alternative routes into an industry that has significant skills shortages and that don’t require a background in STEM are more accessible than ever nowadays. Technology Academies are becoming a popular route into the technology sector and are allowing access to those who would typically be overlooked or who would consider themselves not to be suitable for a role in tech. There isn’t a lack of women who want to work in the technology sector, it’s that there is a lack of awareness of the avenues to entry and to a degree, still a belief that this is a male-dominated industry. Elevating these training methods will increase the number of women we see taking on technology roles.