female scientist looking at microscope slide, women in STEM

Why increasing access to technology will help show STEM as a viable career stream

female scientist looking at microscope slide, women in STEM

Over the past number of years, emphasis has been placed on making STEM a more viable career for young people – but the spotlight has been on a finite selection of roles.

Specifically in the region of tech, career routes, of which many are not well advertised to start with, can be often heavily male-dominated, shrouded with jargon and seemingly impenetrable. In an increasingly digital world, today’s employers have a certain responsibility to ‘sell’ the sector to tomorrow’s decision makers, says Ji Hye Chang, Senior Experience Scientist at CODE Worldwide.

Even in 2022, choosing a career path in technology does not necessarily feel like a viable option for everyone. By way of response, organisations like ours are bridging the gap with comprehensive training and mentoring schemes and ushering bright young things through the door to establish themselves in a sector which is set to dominate the careers landscape in years to come.

While traditional STEM roles, like engineering and medicine have been widely publicised and incentivised in the past 10-or-so years, these only scratch the surface. There are plenty of offshoot roles which are equally as crucial for an increasingly digital world but are less well-known and therefore less frequently pursued by young people entering the job market. One of these areas is data marketing, a hybrid creative and technical field which is growing rapidly and urgently needs to entice new talent.

While neither marketing roles nor purely technical roles are unpopular, the amalgamation of the two proves harder to attract talent. As marketeers, we know that the sector can have a reputation for onboarding creative types only, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it leaves little room for deviation. System-loving, strategic thinking techies don’t usually seek out roles in marketing. Conversely, roles which focus heavily on data tend to conjure images of a certain sort of candidate, too. Marrying the two is a resourcing headscratcher.

The Marketing Science Academy is the brainchild of CODE Worldwide and parent-company RAPP Group, established with the ambition to directly solve the problem. It is a digital training and mentoring scheme which takes talented young prospective employees and gives them the knowledge, tools and resources to thrive in the ever-evolving world of data marketing. Trainees are exposed to real-life clients and given real briefs to work on, under the watchful eye of mentors and executives.

It’s not just a general effort to encourage people into the sector, either – it’s about getting the right people through the door to reflect today’s diverse and inclusive workforce. In what has been a traditionally white male dominated landscape, a diverse selection of candidates are chosen through CODE’s talent pipeline. This approach creates a varied talent pool, providing an incredibly desirable melting pot of ideas and points of view. The programme has run for the last two years with great levels of success, and the and the most recent cohort are being offered opportunities including internships and the chance to apply for junior roles within the business.

Mentors and subjects are paired after meticulous consideration; mentees are asked about specific learning objectives, skills and career aspirations before an appropriate mentor is identified. Once selected, mentors receive leadership and coaching training; after all, very few people build their careers with the aspiration of being a ‘mentor’.

Ultimately, in 2022 and beyond, we can’t allow initiatives that focus on ‘jobs in STEM’ just to cover off the first roles that come to mind. The landscape is changing rapidly, and as technology continues to advance and our working lives depend more heavily on it, fresh talent needs to be on top of these shifting sands. By arming young people with the tools, information and confidence they need to navigate a hybrid field like scientific marketing, employers can create a diverse and savvy workforce that are ready for whatever the future throws at them.

About the author

Ji Hye ChangJi Hye Chang is a Senior Experience Scientist at Code Worldwide who is a true data storyteller and offers tangible value in her strategic thinking and effective use of data. She sits at the helm of a number of game-changing data strategy projects starting with a journey of data discovery, scenario planning, sophisticated segmentation modelling and formulating end-to-end data strategy. Bringing 7 years of industry experience, Ji has been instrumental in challenging clients to rethink their strategy to prioritise their customers and utilise data strategically. Within 12 months of starting at Code, her expertise has already led to the strategic creation and delivery of tailored communications that consistently produce impressive and robust results for her clients. Not only is she a master in her field, but she is also an advocate for encouraging more diverse women into the data and technology sectors. She is passionate about sharing her experience and knowledge and mentoring the new generation.


Young asian female chemists with senior caucasian chemist working together in lab, looking into microscope, Women in STEM

How to encourage women to begin a career in STEM

Young asian female chemists with senior caucasian chemist working together in lab, looking into microscope, Women in STEM

Article by Uma Rajah, CEO and Co-Founder, CapitalRise

Women are underrepresented in STEM jobs. Just over a quarter of women in work are employed in STEM sectors (Women in Tech).

Education has a key role to play in encouraging more girls to take up STEM subjects at school and in further education and go on to pursue careers in these fields.

Recent UCAS data has shown some positive changes – 35% of STEM students in higher education are female (STEM Women). But how can we increase these numbers further?

I’ve outlined a series of steps that can be taken by educational authorities and governing bodies to increase the number of girls and women applying for STEM subjects and STEM careers.

Fixing the problem at the source

There is no more effective way to increase the number of females taking STEM subjects than to target them during their school and university years. Persistent images of male mathematicians, engineers and scientists that are shown to children in their formative years create a preconception that these subjects are gatekept by males. Greater representation of female technology innovators, scientists, and mathematicians, for example, need to be addressed to show young female students that they too can pursue STEM subjects during school and university. We need these fields to appear more welcoming.

Increasing access to STEM work experience opportunities

Increasing access to opportunities in STEM through work experience, especially for young women, is crucial to ensuring the success of the UK economy. Every year there is an increase in the number of young women applying to undertake advanced and higher-level STEM apprenticeships (WISE Campaign), which is evidence that the demand is there. The government needs to address this by greatly increasing the number of apprenticeships available to everyone, and businesses could do a great deal more to provide work experience and exposure to careers in STEM. There is nothing better than experiencing these work environments first hand, especially at a time when you are starting to make educational decisions that will impact your later career choices. I was very lucky during school and university to have had a broad range of work experience – in my case in the manufacturing industry – and it really helped me to decide which career path to take.

One Tech World Virtual Conference 2022

01 APRIL 2022

Book your place now to what is becoming the largest virtual conference for women in technology in 2022

FIND OUT MORE

Champion female role models

More needs to be done by schools and the government to champion those women that are exceeding in Maths, Science, Engineering and Technology. Female STEM professionals should be invited into schools to talk to female students and show them, first-hand, why a career in STEM is so rewarding for women and why it is accessible for them.

As a student, I adored the sciences and planned to pursue medicine at university. Engineering was always a subject that fascinated me, however a distinct lack of resources, and even fewer images of female engineers, meant that I had never considered it as a career path. It was a course with WISE that opened my eyes to it, introducing me to female engineers who shared their day-to-day experiences with me and my classmates, and showed me the numerous specialisms that were a possibility for young women like me. This was a definite contributing factor to my decision to change my A levels from biology, chemistry and maths, to double maths and physics, in order to read engineering at university.

Mentoring

Research has shown that female mentors early in academia increase positive academic experiences and retention in STEM subjects in further education and in employment (PNAS). Female mentors may have faced challenges that males may not have done – such as being a minority and      having experienced some discrimination. It can be invaluable to be mentored by a person who has walked in the shoes you are likely to walk in, and by increasing the number of female mentors, STEM subjects can feel more welcoming and accessible to all .

I have worked in various STEM fields, starting my career as an engineer in the manufacturing industry. From there I moved to product management in technology businesses in the fintech sector, and I now work in property finance in my role as  CEO and co-founder of CapitalRise. Throughout my career, I have frequently been the only woman in the room. It started when I arrived at Cambridge University as a fresher, to find I was the only  female engineering student in my college. This continued into my career, where I would often be the only woman in my team, and I got used to managing all male teams, from the factory floor to the board room. To be honest, I always saw being different as something positive rather than negative, however, I would have greatly appreciated support from a female mentor or manager, particularly early on in my career.

Clear career progression

Research by WISE, the non-profit organisation that campaigns for gender equality in the sciences, found that nurturing attraction, retention and progression is key to creating more gender balance in STEM. For businesses, this can look like a number of things, such as being completely transparent in job adverts, setting out a clear plan for employees to progress in their career to get a seat at the top table, and including career progression in annual reviews. This is good industry practice and will help both men and women equally.

Final thoughts

The challenge of achieving gender balance extends farther than the world of STEM. I would like to see these ways of increasing girls in STEM applied to all young people. Whilst STEM careers are heavily male dominated, there are many disciplines that are heavily female dominated such as teaching, the care industry and human resources. As parents, employers and role models, it is our responsibility to show young people that any career is possible, regardless of gender, and equip them with the resources they need to pursue it.


binary code, data scientist featured

How can women break into a career in data?

Article by Caroline Carruthers, CEO Carruthers and Jackson 

binary code, data scientistAt DataTalks last year, an annual event which brings together hundreds of data professionals from all over the world and a range of different industries, someone came up to me to say how incredible it was that there were so many women giving keynote speeches.

It’s normal in the tech world to think of STEM careers as inaccessible to women and girls and, whilst there’s still a lot of work to do in the tech space, the world of data seems to be a bit of an outlier.

It’s normal for events like DataTalks to have a large number of women giving keynotes and, as someone who’s proud to have helped to foster a wide-reaching data community, I’m constantly amazed at how far we’ve come in the data sector since I began my career. But why is data seen as a much more welcoming, and much more accessible for women than many other areas in the tech space?

I think the number one reason is because there are so many different routes into the data profession. Unlike many STEM careers, you don’t necessarily need a tech or science background: the data community values the skills brought by those with backgrounds in the arts or the business world just as much as they value those with science or more technical skills.

One Tech World Virtual Conference 2021

Book your place now to what is becoming the largest virtual conference for women in technology in 2021

FIND OUT MORE - EARLY BIRD OFFER NOW AVAILABLE

That doesn’t mean there are no entry requirements to a career in data, of course, but the key characteristic that defines whether someone is a good fit for a data role is one that doesn’t have a bias toward one gender or the other: curiosity. You can teach anybody about the technical side of data science or the importance of data governance, but you can’t teach curiosity, and that’s the making of a great data professional.

So, if you’re a curious person interested in a career in data, the only real barrier is self-imposed limitations. Whenever I go into schools to talk to young women who are interested in a career in STEM, I always tell them that the worst mistake they can make is to limit themselves based on someone else’s preconception of what they should be doing. Even as adults, we often self-impose limitations; we need to learn to challenge ourselves and to stop asking ”why?” and start asking “why not?”.

Data is an incredible, rewarding profession which allows you to work with the foundation of pretty much all of the technology and digitalisation that we take for granted in the world today, and all of the innovation that the world is working toward in fields such as AI and machine learning. If you’re a woman looking to break into what I consider to be the most exciting area of the tech space, you just need two things: curiosity, and the ability to ask yourself “why not?”


Female space operations engineer maintains equipment

Apprenticeships in tech: How young people can get involved

Female space operations engineer maintains equipment

Article by Ben Rubery, Apprenticeship Programmes Manager, Capgemini

As an award-winning apprenticeship employer, Capgemini have been invested in building the future and providing opportunities for apprentices for over 10 years.

We recognise the challenges that young people in particular face when considering their career options and the pandemic has magnified this issue as the UK now faces inevitable youth unemployment and underemployment challenges.

The UK Government have announced a range of initiatives under it’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ and we recognise it’s more important than ever that young people take the time to explore and understand the options available to them.

Apprenticeships are at the heart of this plan and bring a huge amount of value to the individuals who undertake them. They combine distance, classroom, or blended learning with on-the-job experience to provide the skills required to be successful in a chosen industry. This is a unique opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals, earn while you learn and gain a recognised qualification – up to master’s level.

The pace of growth in the technology sector is significant and the same applies to digital apprenticeships, which have allowed Capgemini to develop our own technologists of the future in key areas such as Cloud, Cyber Security and DevOps. So, if you’re passionate about pursuing an apprenticeship in technology where should you begin?

Demonstrate your passion

Perhaps you’re a self-taught programmer or enjoy reading about the latest developments in tech and take the time to research and continue learning new skills. As someone starting their career, it can be difficult to draw on past experiences so these are areas employers will want to hear about, as it not only shows your interest in the role but willingness to develop and learn, a big factor when taking on an apprenticeship.

Engage with employers

Many employers run insight events, Q&A and training sessions for prospective candidates. What’s brilliant is that the majority of these are now being delivered virtually so it couldn’t be easier to join! They offer the opportunity to learn more about the roles available and speak directly with employees, particularly those that are currently on apprenticeship programmes.

Not only are these events a great way to develop your employability skills, but it’s a chance to build your network and demonstrate your genuine interest for joining a particular organisation. You can find all of Capgemini’s upcoming events here.

Social Media

Talking of network, social media can be a fantastic way to start building connections and learn more about an organisations day to day activity. Making sure the content on the accounts you’re using to interact is appropriate (perhaps separate from a personal profile), you can engage with an organisations latest news and use this as a basis for any interviews.

Using social media to connect with current employees in roles that you’re hoping to go into is a quick and easy way to get your questions answered and hear about first-hand experience. Capgemini’s graduate and apprentice community are hugely active across social media and you can follow us across LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Research

Apprenticeships can sometimes be difficult to navigate if you do not know what you are looking for. All apprenticeship vacancies are posted on the Government website here, and if you’re looking to work for a particular employer take a look at their dedicated careers websites like Capgemini’s pages here.

Use resources like RateMyApprenticeship and the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer listings to understand more about the quality of apprenticeships available. Awards are often based on existing employee reviews and data so are worth checking out if you’re unsure about a particular programme.

Organisations and their apprenticeship programmes may also be part of industry recognised accreditations, such as Tech Industry Gold for digital and technology degree apprenticeships allowing prospective apprentices to choose employers with confidence, based on results including employment and academic outcomes.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here


women in computing, teacher, STEM featured

Why we need to encourage women in STEM

Bethan Gawthorne, Servitor Developer at Civica

Beginning my journey

women in computing, teacher, STEMI have always enjoyed computers. When I was at school, we had a few teachers who would open the computer room for us at lunchtime, so we were able to go in and practice using software. I used to spend as many lunch breaks as I could in there playing around with different programmes and developing my tech skills whilst having fun. I’ve had a number of jobs since leaving school, but it was my position at a customer helpdesk that prompted me to formalise my computing skills.

I kicked off my career by obtaining my European Computer Driver Licence (a basic PC course), before getting my degree at The Open University. From there, I secured a job at my local council providing technical support on a specific Civica provided system. After a few years learning the business landscape, I applied for a job at Civica to learn how to develop and manage software applications.

Developing personally and professionally

I would say my greatest professional achievement to date is building the GDPR solution within our Servitor Housing Repairs product. I was heavily involved in both the design and development of the module. The end result was a flexible module that gives the customer a holistic view of their data.

There has been challenges along the way, the biggest of which has been my self-doubt and insecurities. This is why I think it’s vital for women to encourage other women in the workplace. Every year Civica celebrates women in the workplace by marking International Women’s Day and highlighting some of the inspiring female leaders within the business. This helps give us visibility of all the women doing fantastic work in a setting that we can relate to, and with people we know.

I also got involved with the #oneofthemillion campaign run by WISE, which aims to raise awareness of women working in STEM to young girls looking to get into the same industries. I signed up to be a role model, sharing information about my role and the path I took to get there. I’m hoping this will empower young girls to feel confident to pursue a degree or career in STEM.

Diversity allows creativity to flourish

At Civica, we have hugely diverse tech teams which means we all think differently, bringing various ideas to the table. Being able to discuss these ideas with other people and combining them to build something new and unique motivates me. It’s important to enjoy the work you do: it’s complex and there will be days when you make limited progress, but if you enjoy it then no challenge will be impossible.

Women shouldn’t feel like the only way into tech is via traditional routes. I got my degree through The Open University by studying on evenings and weekends whilst working full time. Traditional learning institutions are not for everybody, so I encourage women to get creative, speak to those that inspire you and reach out in different ways – people are always more willing to help than you think.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here


Why I chose a career in STEM. And why you should too.

Article by Megan Bramwell, Research Mechanical Engineer, H2Tec

Women In EngineeringGrowing up, I was not actually sure what I wanted to be. It’s a difficult decision to make and even more so when you are so young.

However, I always knew that my career would, in some way, fall into the STEM category.

At school I loved the sciences. I liked seeing how things are applied to the world in Physics. And having dyslexia, I found that Maths was a subject that came easily to me.

When it came to crunch time - choosing what to study at Uni - I was caught between sports or engineering. It wasn’t until my Mum asked me which inspired me most that I realised that my passion lay squarely with engineering. Why? Because I wanted to be able to make a positive difference in the world.

Before I knew it, I was kickstarting a degree in Mechanical Engineering with Renewable Energy at The University of Edinburgh. I am set to graduate in 2021, and I am currently doing an Industrial Placement with H2Tec, a subsidiary of hydrogen tech firm Logan Energy, and which designs and manufactures specialised products for the hydrogen market.

I can honestly say that I love my job and I have no regrets in taking the career path that I have. There are so many different aspects of engineering in the job that I do, and I am learning new things all the time. Working with a clean energy firm is not only hugely rewarding, but I am able to see the role that engineering plays in helping to form a fully realised, finished product, which is inspiring.

There are challenges that come with being an engineer. I am a woman working in a male dominated industry, so it has been hard to get people to believe that I belong. But I work extremely hard both at University, and in my current role. The quality of my work and my work ethic speaks for itself. Not my gender.

The positive side of this is that things are changing. I no longer feel I have to prove to people that I don’t belong where I am right now. A major part of overcoming this has actually been from me accepting myself as a female engineer. My work at H2Tec has been a major driver of this. I am accepted by the team not by my gender but by what I can bring to the table - my skills, my knowledge and most importantly, my passion.

The biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone, but especially to women, is to believe in yourself. I was told this by my sister and it’s something I have always kept at the back of my mind.

If you are a woman reading this and you have a passion for STEM, but are unsure if you should take the plunge, then all I can say is to go for it. Don’t let stereotypes get in the way. If you can honestly say that your career inspires and interests you then you will have a lot more fun along the way!

About the author

Megan Bramwell is a Research Mechanical Engineer on an Industrial Placement at H2Tec, a subsidiary of hydrogen tech firm, Logan Energy. H2Tec designs and manufactures specialised products for the hydrogen market. She is working towards a degree in Mechanical Engineering with Renewable Energy from The University of Edinburgh, and is passionate about making a difference in the renewable and sustainable energy sector.


Group of people smiling featured

Four ways tech firms can improve their employee engagement

Kirsty Carter, chief of staff for cloud and technology professional and managed service provider, Solutionize Global.

Group of people smilingBusinesses can’t escape the numerous analytics available that reflect the power of an engaged workforce, and there’s no wonder more tech firms are tapping into the ways in which they can enhance their day-to-day environments.

Firms with an engaged team are said to achieve 21% higher profitability according to Gallup. And yet, the study delves further into the detail – revealing how a huge 85% of organisations are failing to motivate their staff globally.

The latter figure appears to be quite a surprising fact when dissecting the tangible advantages of what it means to have a truly engaged workforce. From productivity to happiness – a team that’s positive about where they work is more likely to produce commercially savvy results, impact that all-important bottom line positively and ultimately enjoy a better quality of working life and improved mental health and wellbeing.

And several reports back this up, with Gartner detailing how enterprises that provide a working environment – full of career and development opportunities – can help towards a firm’s annual staff turnover decreasing by nearly 70%. From a commercial point of view, that can be huge when considering the cost implications of every recruitment drive.

So, why aren’t more companies focusing on enhancing their employee engagement to make members of staff feel valued? There is never a one size fits all approach for something as diverse as individual motivation, but there are ways in which tech organisations can improve their current offering – and become a more attractive and innovative place to work.

  1. Begin with outstanding onboarding

A formal onboarding process presents a fantastic opportunity to align expectations and set new recruits up for success. It doesn’t end after an hour with HR either, it should continue throughout a structured probationary period containing bitesize deliverables to give the new starter a platform to display their skillset early on. With everyone having clear milestones and outcomes for delivery, it’s easier to measure success – or provide clear, concise opportunities for improvement.

Embedding the company culture at this stage is also key. Open and honest two-way conversations and structured training should be in place to ensure both an employee and employer feel they’ve made the right choice.

  1. Providing an inspiring environment

There’s nothing more innovative for tech-savvy minds than a challenge to get their creative juices flowing. So, does the atmosphere and workspace fit the bill?

Offering somewhere that teams can brainstorm and discuss ideas, quiet rooms so individuals can reflect and take screen breaks – and if appropriate – provide remote and flexbile working opportunities, these factors can contribute towards an atmosphere that encourages collaboration.

  1. Growing talent from within

Providing a platform for development can help organisations reap a wealth of benefits – something which has never been more pertinent than in a modern-day tech team that’s constantly tasked with staying ahead of the curve.

Personal development planning – agreed by both employees and their managers – provides a platform for the colleague to demonstrate their desire to progress and should prevent them looking outside of the organisation for a new opportunity. In addition, regular coaching and mentoring opportunities demonstrates commitment and investment in people. It’s time well spent as individuals are often motivated to ‘do more’ in an environment that promotes lifelong learning.

To keep talent firmly in the business, it’s crucial they’re shown what the future may hold – but leaders should never promise what they can’t deliver.

  1. Maintaining an ‘open door’ policy

Leaders confident to encourage open and honest conversations with their workforces – and who follow through with any actionable points as a result of those discussions – can help staff to feel engaged and that their voice is being heard.

Introducing manager and employee feedback forms as well as providing a ‘safe space’ for colleagues to talk through confidential concerns with team members, should go a long way towards encouraging a collaborative environment.

Every colleague is different in terms of what they are looking for from their careers – some might be inspired by autonomy, others via team projects. It all comes down to individual choice, and that’s something every tech organisation must reflect if it is to foster an engaged, inclusive workforce.

There are so many ways in which to improve the workplace setting, but those willing to introduce simple steps that positively impact, reward and provide a productive and safe environment are all critical when retaining top talent – and attracting the innovators of tomorrow.

Kirsty CarterAbout the author

As chief of staff at cloud and technology professional and managed service provider, Solutionize Global, Kirsty’s role focuses on company culture, employee engagement and organisational growth. As well as leading on evolving the team’s in-house training, hiring, professional development and performance management structures, Kirsty acts as an advisor to Solutionize Global’s CEO, David Bentley. First joining the forward-thinking firm in 2019, Kirsty has enjoyed a 12-year, people-focused career and is passionate about investing in people, future-proofing learning and development and creating an efficient HR function to help scale the business.