Young people in tech, tech careers, mthree featured

Dragon’s Den star, Piers Linney, joins campaign to increase diversity in tech roles

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.”

WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here

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woman and man looking at a computer screen with coding, carving a career in tech, digital exclusion

Carving a career in tech

woman and man looking at a computer screen with coding, carving a career in tech

Article provided by Becs Roycroft, Senior Director of Global Emerging Talent Operations at mthree

There’s no arguing that when it comes to reducing the gender gap in technology, we still have a long way to go.

Despite increased awareness of the problem, the fact remains women remain underrepresented at every level.

It is promising that businesses and governments around the world are taking action to attract more women into technology. But to really succeed in recruiting as many women as possible into these roles, we must also take a micro-level view.

As someone who works on recruiting the best emerging young talent, I believe we need to go back to basics by committing to spreading positive messages about the diverse and rewarding careers technology can offer women. So, here I’d like to cover just a few of the benefits:

Job stability

As long as technology is the driving force behind the world, technology candidates will always be in demand. Technology professionals benefit from higher salaries and better job prospects, and now that the coronavirus pandemic has put science and technology under the spotlight, demand is likely to skyrocket. And given the industry is a huge champion for learning and adaptability, working in technology can help you reach the proper balance between growth and security.

Flexible career paths

From web development to cybersecurity, software engineer to AI, the range of roles within technology is huge. And the soft skills, emotional intelligence and technical know-how acquired through these roles can help you go anywhere in your career. Furthermore, roles are in abundance across the globe from leading technology companies to smaller niche organisations.

Making a difference

Beyond making things simpler for people day-to-day, technology can have a meaningful impact by invoking systemic change. When working in tech you have the opportunity to really make a difference in the world by helping to solve critical global issues, such as access to education and climate change.

Equal opportunities

From personal experience I’ve learnt that you don’t have to work in a technical role to succeed in this industry. Technology needs more than just developers and software engineers, it also requires HR experts, communications professionals and great financial minds. So if you don’t see yourself pursuing a technical career, there are still a great number of opportunities to learn more and expand your career prospects.

Becs RoycroftAbout the author

Becs Roycroft is a Senior Director of Global Emerging Talent Operations at mthree - an emerging talent and training partner to global, blue-chip enterprises focusing on their technology and business operations. mthree is owned by John Wiley & Sons, the third largest research, publishing and education provider globally.  Becs is passionate about creating diverse and inclusive careers pathways in technology and has over 18 years experience working in recruitment and management across a variety of companies, sectors and industries. At mthree, Becs is responsible for Alumni and student engagement, client services operations and Re-Skill services globally.

WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here. 

Don’t forget, you can also follow us via our social media channels for the latest up-to-date gender news. Click to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

finding the right career, applying for jobs featured

Why women shouldn’t let job descriptions hold them back

 Article by Rebecca Roycroft, client services director at tech talent specialist mthree

job application, right careerAccording to research by LinkedIn, women apply to 20% fewer jobs than men and are less likely to apply unless they meet 100% of the job description criteria.

This is paralleled against men who will apply for a job if they meet just 60% of the listed requirements.

This reluctance of women to apply for a job if they don’t meet every requirement is a particular issue for the technology industry. According to the latest figures, women make up just 17% of the tech workforce, while just 56% of tech start-ups have only one woman in an executive role.

So, what can be done to address this gender imbalance? With so many women seemingly not even applying for tech roles, even when they are just as qualified as their male counterparts, scrutinising and breaking down technology job descriptions will be a good place for women applicants to start.

Look for the essential requirements

Identifying the essential requirements of a job description could help more women to determine whether they have the necessary skills to apply for and succeed in a role. Within a job description some requirements are essential, and others are preferred but sometimes this can be unclear. Therefore, women interested in a particular role shouldn’t be afraid to contact a business to differentiate between the two.

In a tech job description, core skills listed are generally those that are essential to performing the job day-to-day. These tend to be technical skills such as coding expertise for software development positions or proficiency in specific programming languages, such as Java and Python, for certain programming jobs.

On the other hand, transferable skills are often non-essential and can be developed on the job. For example, learning how to develop project management skills or acquiring leadership qualities may be more of a desired, rather than essential, requirement.

By understanding which skills are essential, women should be more encouraged to apply for a tech job if they meet the core skills required. It is not essential to possess all of the requirements listed, and transferrable skills can often be achieved once the candidate is placed in a role. Evidencing how you have transferrable skills such as leadership, can be achieved in the interview process and when entering into the job.

Listed experience can be flexible too

Similarly, it is important that women applying for tech roles are not put off by the request for a precise amount of experience.

A specified amount of experience is often desirable rather than essential, and suitability for the role can be successfully communicated in a well-written cover letter and CV.

If a candidate possesses the core skills of content management expertise for the role of a senior internet technical producer, for example, but the job description asks for five years of experience and the applicant only has four, this could be a missed opportunity if the application is not pursued.

Fill in the gaps during the interview process

Once the first hurdle of applying for the job is overcome, many women will find that they are offered an interview. This is the perfect time to address any perceived shortcomings by outlining transferrable skills and experience that can help to address the missing criteria that may have put off women from applying in the first place.

For example, if the listing asks for specific software experience, such as certain CRMs and project management tools, and the applicant doesn’t have experience with these exact programmes, demonstrating how similar software has been used before, will be beneficial. Outlining an understanding of the specified tools in the interview and how current skills are transferrable to the listed requirements, can show flexibility and an ability to learn processes quickly.

If confidence is demonstrated in transferrable skills and experience, then the interviewer will share this confidence too.

With a growing digital skills shortage, tech talent is in high demand. Whilst women should be seizing the opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone and apply for dream jobs that may seem just beyond their reach, businesses are also responsible for how their job descriptions could serve to ‘put off’ potential female candidates. Clearly listing key requirements along with ones that can be developed, could help more women to enter into, and provide meaningful contribution, to an already thriving UK tech industry.

For women themselves, having confidence in their abilities, being aware of their transferable skills and learning to look beyond intimidating lists of requirements, can help to pave the way for the next generation of diverse and inspirational female technology leaders.

Rebecca RoycroftAbout the author

Rebecca is responsible for delivering a seamless end to end experience for mthree’s clients across EMEA. Her prior experience spans MSP, RPO, SOW and Emerging Talent solutions such as graduate and apprenticeship programmes. Rebecca is an innovative and passionate leader, who has driven transformation and change within multiple organisations. She has been instrumental in creating successful and high performing teams across sales, client engagement and business operations.