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Looking back at 2021: Our top tech news stories of the year

In the second installment of our series of looking back at the past year, we delve into some of our favourite and most important tech news stories of 2021.

While this year’s main focus was once again the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 has still seen Wally Funk make history and become the oldest person in space; Dame Stephanie Shirley and Ray Ozzie receiving a distinguished fellowship from the Chartered Institue for IT; as well as many diversity and gender initiatives launched to help women into tech and STEM.

We look forward to bringing you all the latest news, debates and thought-provoking articles in 2022!


Glassdoor Best Places to Work 2021January

In January, it was announced that Salesforce, Google Apple and Microsoft were among the best places to work.

Glassdoor, the worldwide leader on insights about jobs and companies, announced the winners of its 13th annual Employees’ Choice Awards, honouring the Best Places to Work in 2021 across the UK and four other countries. Unlike other workplace awards, the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards are based on the input of employees who voluntarily provide anonymous feedback by completing a company review about their job, work environment and employer over the past year.

The Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards highlight Best Places to Work across the UK, France, Germany the U.S. and Canada. Winners are ranked based on their overall rating achieved during the past year.

BT & Code First Girls partnershipFebruary

In February, BT launched a partnership with Code First Girls to help close the UK gender skills gap in tech.

The partnership, which included funding from BT, helps enable Code First Girls, to provide £10,000 worth of free education to every woman undertaking a course with them and to upskill upwards of 900 women. Participating women will also benefit from the expertise of BT’s world class technologists who have helped to shape the Code First Girls courses, ensuring the next generation of women in technology are equipped with the skills they need to succeed.

We also reported that Dragon’s Den star, Piers Linney had joined a campaign to help increase diversity in tech roles.

Former Dragon’s Den star, tech entrepreneur and diversity champion, Piers Linney, 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.

March

March saw us celebrating International Women’s Day – with a number of tech companies launching initiative to support women in tech.

Entain, the leading global sports betting and gaming entertainment operator, were one such company, launching a series of international initiatives to support girls and young women interested in building careers in technology.

Entain partnered with Girls Who Code, an international non-profit organisation working to close the gender gap in technology; and The Tech Girls Movement in Australia.

School of Code also launched a new part-time bootcamp to help transform lives and diversify tech during the COVID-19 pandemic.

School of Code is on a mission to get more and different types of people into Tech. They are closing the digital skills gap by turning diverse cohorts of people into work-ready full stack developers suited to remote, Agile teams. The bonus: It’s free to attend. Funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority, corporate sponsors, and employer partners levels the playing field and eliminates barriers to entry.

April

In April, we celebrated International Girls in ICT Day!

Girls in ICT Days aims to encourage and empower girls and young women to consider studies and car​eers in the growing field of ICTs,​ enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector.

International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of April.

woman wearing a white lab coat working on an engineering project, International Women in Engineering DayJune

June marked International Women in Engineering Day – with it being reported that female engineers are more likely to be victims of recruitment bias.

Women trying to return to the engineering industry after a career break are more likely to experience recruitment bias than men, according to a survey by STEM Returners.

The survey, published on International Women in Engineering Day, showed 27% of women feel they have personally experienced bias in recruitment processes due to their gender, compared to 8% of men. Furthermore, 30% of women said they feel they have personally experienced bias in recruitment processes due to childcare responsibilities compared to 6% of men.

Blue Origin First Human Flight Wally FunkJuly

In July, Wally Funk became the oldest person to go into space!

Wally Funk made history by becoming the oldest person to go into space, and finally realised her dream of being an astronaut.

Thanks to Jeff Bezos, Funk was finally able to go into space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard first crewed flight to space. The journey was New Shepard’s 16th flight to space.

Wally is an American aviator, commercial astronaut, and Goodwill Ambassador.

She was the first female air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, the first female civilian flight instructor at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and the first female Federal Aviation Agency inspector.

Wally is also one of the Mercury 13. The Mercury 13 Women in Space Program was a privately-funded program to see how women would cope with space training.

The women were put through the same rigorous physical and mental testing as male astronauts. Wally passed her tests and was qualified to go into space. Her score was the third best in the Mercury 13 program.

However, despite completing their training, the program was cancelled, and none of the thirteen flew.

Wally never gave up her dream of going into space and  when NASA finally began accepting women in the late 1970s, Funk applied three times. Despite her impressive credentials, she was turned down for not having an engineering degree or a background as a test pilot.

September

In September, it was reported that women and BAME indivduals are disproportionally affected by cybercrime.

The ‘Demographics of Cybercrime’ report, conducted by Malwarebytes, a global leader in real-time cyberprotection, and US-based non-profit partners, Digitunity and Cybercrime Support Network, found that uncovered that certain demographic groups are disproportionally impacted by cybercrime.

The report, which polled more than 5,000 people across the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, details how consumers experience cybercrime worldwide, demonstrating cybercrime does not impact everyone equally. In fact, the report illustrates that demographics impact how often individuals are targeted, as well as their emotional response to becoming a victim.

Overall analysis of data suggests disadvantaged groups facing barriers in society feel less safe about their online experiences, are more likely to fall victim to an attack, and at times report experiencing a heavier emotional burden when responding to cyberattacks.

On a more positive note, Tech She Can became a charity – inspiring more young girls and women into technology careers.

As a charity, Tech She Can, working together with its board of Trustees and member organisations will be able to extend its reach and impact.

Tech She Can was created in 2018 with 18 founding organisations following a research initiative into why girls and young women are less likely to study technology-based subjects, and pursue tech careers

October

October saw Supermums launch a new campaign to help mothers bounce back from the pandemic.

The campaign will help to shine a light on the career opportunities that exist for women (and beyond) that can give them flexible, well paid, resilient careers and financial independence. They will also be sharing positive new stories and sharing educational stories and information to help mums bounce back.

Supermums was founded on a mission to help mums secure a flexible well paid resilient career. The idea originated from our founder Heather Black when she personally experienced the trauma of losing a business and career when new economic and political changes were imposed beyond her control in 2011 which proved to be a turning point in her life. She had to find a way to bounce back and to launch a new career path.

Dame Stephanie Shirley & Ray OzzieNovember

In November, Dame Stephanie Shirley and Ray Ozzie received a distinguished fellowship from the Chartered Institue for IT.

Global IT entrepreneur and workplace revolutionary turned ardent philanthropist, Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, and software industry pioneer Ray Ozzie were awarded Distinguished Fellowships from BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

The awards are given to individuals whose contribution to computing is seen in terms of major importance to the overall development of computing, with substantial personal recognition through peer review over a substantial and sustained career.

Dame Stephanie arrived in Britain as an unaccompanied child refugee in 1939. In 1962, she founded an all-woman software company that pioneered remote working, upending the expectations of the time. It was ultimately valued at almost $3 billion and made 70 of her staff millionaires. Since ‘retiring’, her focus has been on philanthropy, and she has given away almost £70m to fund strategic projects in autism and IT. She joined the BCS as a student member on its foundation in 1957 and was its first woman President in 1989-90.

Ray Ozzie was formerly best known for his role in creating Lotus Notes. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1979 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he worked on the PLATO system. He began his career at Data General Corporation where he worked for Jonathan Sachs. Ozzie then worked at Software Arts and was later recruited by Sachs and Mitch Kapor to work for Lotus Development to develop what became Lotus Symphony.


A Google pixel 3XL showing Covid-19 information from the Google News app

Looking back at 2020: Our top tech news stories of the year

A Google pixel 3XL showing Covid-19 information from the Google News app, tech news

In the first in our series of looking back at the past year, we delve into some of our favourite and most important tech news stories of 2020.

While this year has been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has still seen Sheridan Ash, June Angelides & Carrie Anne Philbin recognised on Queen's Birthday Honours List; the loss of Katherine Johnson, NASA mathematician and inspiration for the Hollywood film, Hidden Figures; a celebration of a million women in STEM; and some great initiatives to help women in tech.

We look forward to bringing you all the latest news, debates and thought-provoking articles in 2021!

Tribeni ChouguleJanuary

In January, we caught up with one of our TechWomen100 alumni – Tribeni Chougule. Tribeni won her award in 2018.

Tribeni started her career as a Graduate Trainee Engineer in Tata Technologies, Pune, India where she was trained as an SAP Technical Consultant.

She enjoyed programming and was able to land a new job on the basis of her 4.5 months of strong technical expertise into India’s top 3 IT companies –Wipro. In her 11 years career in Wipro, Tribeni’ s roles graduated from Technical Consultant to Technical Lead to Project Lead to Project Manager and Program Manager and she also moved permanently from India to UK. Tribeni then joined Infosys where she project managed their first SAP Global Trade Management implementation for a procurement division of one of the largest telecom companies. In 2013, Tribeni joined Visa as Technical Project Manager and transformed internal IT teams from waterfall to agile model of delivery and enabled the various teams to work in the digital propositions of the organisation. This included training design and implementation, tools and process change and being an Agile coach to Scrum Masters as well as to Scrum Teams. After undertaking various  key and complex programmes and projects during the and post-merger of Visa Europe and Visa Inc, Tribeni headed the Technology team in the London Innovation Centre. Tribeni is currently the Head of Change Management in Finance Europe.

Tribeni is also the co-chair of  Visa’s Women in Technology Europe network, Enactus Business Advisor and a Cherie Blair foundation women in business mentor. She is pursuing her executive MBA from WBS, London.

Katherine Johnson featuredFebruary

February sadly saw the loss of NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson.

Johnson, who was one of the inspirations for the Hollywood film, Hidden Figures, sadly died on 25th February, aged 101.

The pioneering African-American mathematician’s calculations were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed space flights. Johnson’s work also helped break down many of the social and racial barriers at the time.

Johnson was hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1953 and worked in the racially segregated computing unit until 1958, when NACA became NASA. In the same year, Johnson joined Project Mercury, the US’s first human space program, as one of the ‘computers’ who calculated rocket trajectories and earth orbits by hand.

March

March saw the rapid advancement of Coronavirus, with the whole country put into lockdown on 23rd March.

As a result of this, we asked our members for help in supporting great initiatives like FutureDotNow’s campaign to support the most vulnerable online during COVID-19; and The Royal Academy of Engineering’s call for engineers to help boost the supply of ventilators and ventilator components.

young Asian woman looking at laptop, watchin a webinarApril

In April, we reported that J.P. Morgan had joined forces with Finding Ada to offer free mentorship for 50 women in technology in the UK.

The scheme paired mentees from across the UK with women in technical roles within J.P. Morgan. Mentors are available from various levels across the company, from junior software developers to senior tech leaders.

Mentoring has many proven benefits, including helping mentees to improve their soft skills, confidence and communication skills, as well as making them, on average, five times more likely to receive a promotion compared to non-mentees.

WISE 1 Million Women in STEMMay

In May, we celebrated WISE’s campaign to showcase one million women in STEM.

WISE had been working towards the goal of one million women in STEM for the past five years. Thanks to the focused efforts of role models, organisations and champions of gender balance in STEM, this number has finally been achieved.

WISE invited you to celebrate and take part in their newly launched 1 of the Million campaign – an inclusive, digital campaign that aims to inspire and celebrate the real faces behind the million women in STEM.

The 1 of the Million Campaign encourages women working in STEM to share their story – and those of their friends, mentors or colleagues – in order to celebrate the brilliant contributions women make through science, technology, engineering and maths.By putting a face to the million, the campaign aims to inspire more women to pursue, return to, or retrain in STEM.

Two Female College Students Building Machine In Science Robotics Or Engineering ClassJune

June saw the celebration of International Women in Engineering Day!

International Women in Engineering Day is an annual event that showcases the incredible work of female engineers and it aims to encourage more people to think of engineering as a profession for all.

Currently, there is a considerable lack of female representation in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industry – with women making up just 12.37 per cent of all engineers in the UK, the lowest numbers of any country in Europe.

For young girls, whose future choices are heavily influenced by today’s experiences, lack of visible female representation fuels the misconception that engineering is a career for men wearing high-vis jackets. Whilst people are now more comfortable questioning gender bias in the industry, diversity now being a recognisable issue, there is still a long way to go before gender parity is achieved.

WeAreTechWomen spoke to six female STEM experts to learn about their own career experiences in the engineering industry, and advice for how best to #ShapeTheWorld.

teenager on a computer, gaming, cyber securityJuly

In July, it was reported that women in cybersecurity are paid 21 per cent less than men.

Despite more women working in cybersecurity, the research, Cybersecurity Workforce Study, conducted by (ISC)², found that women are paid, on average, 21 per cent less than their male counterparts globally.

The average salary for female cybersecurity employees in North America is just under $80,000, versus an average of around $96,500 for men. In Europe, the average salary for women is about $40,500 compared to $67,000 for men.

More women than men (22 per cent vs. 13 per cent) cited discrimination as a challenge they’ve experienced during their career. However, in other areas, such as “unclear career path opportunities,” “lack of available cybersecurity positions” and “cost of cybersecurity certifications,” men and women respondents were never more than five percentage points apart.

The study did find some positives for women in cybersecurity. The research found that higher percentages of women in cybersecurity already planned to work in the field even before starting in the profession – and that interest in pursuing cybersecurity education is substantially higher among women under the age of 45. 68 per cent of women in cybersecurity polled by (ISC)2 also said they plan to stay in the field for the remainder of their careers.

stylish woman working from home, style tips, flexible workingAugust

August offered a positive month, with 51 per cent of tech employees saying working from home has improved their work-life balance.

The report, from Culture Shift, found that the events of recent months have positively impacted the culture of Britain’s technology industry, with 39 per cent saying it has actively improved since they transitioned to working from home.

As half of the UK’s workforce transitioned to remote working earlier this year, organisations were thrust into the spotlight with many standing by to see if they were able to make the transition seamlessly without detrimental impact on their culture. The same report also uncovered that 34 per cent of employees in tech said working from home has had a positive effect on their mental health, while 30 per cent said sentiment towards their job has been positively impacted and 33 per cent confirmed their relationship with their boss/employer has improved since they started working from home.

It was also reported that virtual events could be a step in achieving greater inclusivity for women in tech if biased features maintained by in-person conferences are eliminated, according to new data.

Ensono, a leading hybrid IT services provider, today released the findings of its second annual research report, “Speak Up: Redesigning Tech Conferences With Women in Mind.

As digital events have become the new normal due to the impact of COVID-19, the report signals how virtual conferences can provide a stepping stone for women to achieve gender parity in the tech industry if biased conference amenities are eliminated. For women of colour, this disparity is even greater, and companies are responsible for diversity and inclusion efforts that challenge routine procedure.

The report found that 71 per cent of women who have given a keynote said conferences are not designed with women in mind. The report also found that on average, women of colour only make up eight per cent of keynote speakers at tech conferences over the last three years. 61 per cent of the women surveyed said their company is more likely to send a man to a tech conference than a woman.

Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE & Sheila Flavell CBE, European Tech Women AwardsSeptember

September saw Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and Sheila Flavell CBE win a European Tech Women Awards.

The UK Department for International Trade (DIT) announced the winners of the first edition of the European Tech Women Awards that took place virtually during London Tech Week.

The event recognised the accomplishments of 24 women from 12 countries who delivered revolutionary projects in the UK and Europe and celebrated UK’s diversity, openness and willingness to champion female leaders.

Imafidon and Flavell both won a Career Recognition Award, while TechWomen100 alumni, Amanda Heslop from Rolls Royce won a STEM Pathway Award

September also saw Victoria McKay appointed as CEO of #techmums to help reach more digitally excluded mums in post COVID-19 age.

McKay founded and ran the Women’s Jewellery Network, a global community of women in the jewellery industry. She was also Chief Operating Officer of the highly respected, London Diamond Bourse.  Victoria also serves as Clerk to The Worshipful Company of Lightmongers.

Victoria succeeds Lauren Allison, who served as CEO of #techmums since 2019. Lauren successfully transformed #techmums into the organisation it is today, launching popular national clubs and launching a new online offer.

Professor Dorothy Monekosso 1October

In October, a barrier-breaking computer science professor was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Chartered Institute for IT.

The UK’s only black (Afro-Caribbean) female professor of Computer Science, Dorothy Monekosso, has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

Professor Monekosso, of Leeds Beckett University, received the honour for her work on Smart Homes for people living with dementia and for her campaigning work to promote diversity in the tech sector. Her pioneering research also includes developing artificial intelligence for spacecraft.

Professor Monekosso will join innovators like Margaret Ross OBE, Emeritus Professor of Software Quality at Southampton Solent University (2007) and World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee (2000) on the professional body for IT’s roll of Honorary Fellows.

Also in October, Sheridan Ash, June Angelides & Carrie Anne Philbin were amongst women in tech recognised on Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Sheridan Ash, founder of TechSheCan was awarded an MBE for services to Young Girls and Women through Technology particularly during COVID-19; June Angelides, VC at Samos Investments, Entrepreneur, Advisor, Speaker, Writer, was awarded an MBE for her services to Women in Technology; and Carrie Anne Philbin, Director, Raspberry Pi Foundation, was awarded an MBE for her services to Education.

Also recognised on this year’s Honours List was Sarah-Jane Mintey, Founder and chief executive Officer, Developing Experts, who was awarded an MBE for services to Technology and Education during Covid-19. Elizabeth Vega, Group Chief Executive Officer, Informed Solutions, was awarded an OBE for services to International Trade and Digital Transformation, while Rioch Edwards-Brown, Founder, So You Wanna Be in TV’, was awarded an OBE for services to the Television, Technology and Creative Sectors

This year’s Honours List was dominated by frontline workers and community champions for their continuing work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare and social care workers make up 14 per cent of the List, for contributions as diverse as setting up the COVID-19 hospitals to delivering medical care on the frontline.

woman working from home in bed, IT professionalNovember

In November it was reported that 31 per cent of IT and information research professionals are working in fear, scared of making a mistake at work

The nationwide poll, commissioned by Feel Good Contacts revealed some of the many concerns faced by people working in this industry.

The study of 2,000 UK workers, conducted by OnePoll, highlighted issues related to communications. Despite almost six months of Zoom meetings, a quarter of IT and information research employees are still uncomfortable with being on a video call, seeing and hearing themselves on screen and being in a virtual room full of people staring at their face. A total of 23 per cent don’t want to talk on the phone and would rather send an email.

In a climate of uncertainty, where IT and information research professionals are feeling on edge as we enter a second lockdown, 20 per cent are anxious about working with difficult colleagues. But it’s not just internal relations that are a concern, 19 per cent are nervous about dealing with antagonistic client and customers.

Not surprisingly, 30 per cent of respondents are scared about losing their job as the UK plunges into economic recession for the first time in 11 years. With such worries, it’s understandable that just under one sixth of respondents are too nervous to ask for extra support with a heavy workload and 18 per cent are anxious about seeking help with a difficult task. One fifth said that in the current climate, they would dread facing their boss in a performance review and a further fifth said that they would be too nervous to ask for a pay rise. Finally, 21 per cent are worried about being expected to work out of hours.


ransgender-woman-holding-mobile-phone-featured

Looking back at 2019: Our top tech news stories of the year

woman reading the news on her phone

Continuing on our series of looking back at the past year, we delve into some of our favourite and most important tech news stories of 2019.

This year has seen many organisations call for more women in tech and STEM; WeAreTechWomen became its own dedicated site in 2019; and we shined a spotlight on a further 100 amazing women in tech.

We look forward to bringing you all the latest tech news, debates and thought-provoking articles in 2020!

January

January started with a bang at WeAreTechWomen, with the celebration of our 2018 TechWomen100 Award winners.

On the 31 January, WeAreTechWomen celebrated the winners of their TechWomen100 awards, at a prestigious ceremony at etc. venues, County Hall, London.

Winners, sponsors, judges and guests celebrated and enjoyed a three-course meal and champagne reception to toast the TechWomen100 finalists’ achievements. The evening was facilitated by Kate Russell, Journalist, Author and Tech Reporter, BBC Click and attendees were welcomed by Vanessa Vallely, Managing Director, WeAreTheCity, and sponsors, Christina Hamilton, Senior Vice President Commercial Development UK & Europe, Worldpay.

WISE campaign featuredFebruary

In February, WISE called on the industry to inspire girls to choose STEM roles.

WISE, the campaign to improve gender balance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), launched a new online game called My Skills My Life, and called on industry to help change the way girls see STEM subjects and how they relate to careers that make a difference to the world.

The call came in response to research showing serious gaps in STEM roles; a survey of HR Directors suggested there is a shortage of 173,400 STEM workers across the UK, costing the economy £1.5bn each year.

Also in February, we asked our readers whether they could be the next Sky Women in Tech Scholar! Sky were on the hunt for five inspirational women to become their 2019 Sky Women in Technology Scholars.

Following the extraordinary success of the first Women in Tech Scholars programme, Sky expanded the scheme for a second time. In addition to winning a £25,000 bursary, the Women in Tech Scholars were paired with an expert mentor in their chosen field. Over the course of the one-year scheme, their mentor will be on hand to provide technical support as well as access to a network of business contacts to develop and nurture the talented entrepreneurs.

WeAreTechWomen logo featuredApril

April was a busy time at WeAreTechWomen HQ - we launched our brand new, dedicated, women in tech website, WeAreTechWomen.com. WeAreTechWomen.com aims to provide visibility of resources for women working in technology who wish to progress their careers and achieve their true potential.

We also announced our 2019 WeAreTechWomen - The Future World of Work conference. This conference was aimed at women working in the tech sector who are looking to broaden their technology horizons, learn new skills and build their technology networks. The theme for this year’s conference was The Future World of Work and how innovation and disruption is driving change within the tech industry.

Our aim was to inspire attendees by delivering bitesize learning sessions for our audience. With the help of our amazing speakers and panellists, we provided the opportunity for our delegates to learn about a broad range of technology topics as well as interact through panels, hands-on activities and workshops.

May

In May, it was reported that the UK remains a 'hot bed' for tech talent.

The research, conducted by Tech Nation, found that the UK is in front of Japan, France and Indonesia when it comes to employing high-growth tech workers.

In the UK, Insurtech and Fintech were the biggest employers among high-growth digital tech firms in 2018, employing 24 per cent and 18 per cent of the high-growth workforce respectively.

Cyber, AI, and Cleantech all feature in the top ten sectors for employment in high-growth tech firms. Investment data shows that AI, Cyber and Big Data are growing in importance for UK tech scaleups. This means that the UK may be about to see more jobs generated in these sectors.

Female EngineerJune

In June, the government called for more women to think about a career in engineering, highlighting them as 'an absolute necessity' for the future of transport.

Women currently represent just 12 per cent of the engineering workforce and 18 per cent of the transport sector workforce. Hiring more women is essential for the delivery of major transport infrastructure projects like HS2 and Heathrow expansion.

It is estimated that by 2033 there will be a combined shortfall of around 341,000 jobs in the sector.

The call followed the convening of a roundtable on women in transport this week by the Department for Transport’s Permanent Secretary Bernadette Kelly, attended by senior female leaders in the sector. Representatives from the Royal Academy of Engineering, Ford, Heathrow Airport, Network Rail, the Women in Maritime Taskforce, and Virgin Atlantic were present.

June also saw the Ministry of Defence appoint its first female Chief Scientific Adviser - Professor Dame Angela McLean.

McLean is the first female to hold the role and joins the Department as a distinguished academic with a commitment to science-driven policy. The MOD’s Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) oversees the Department’s core research programme, leads technology strategy, and works closely with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to develop battle-winning capabilities.

TechWomen100 2019 featuredAugust

In August, we opened nominations for our 2019 TechWomen100 Awards.

Our awards focus solely on women working in tech below director level. We hope that by highlighting the accolades of up-and-coming inspirational female tech talent, we can help to create a new generation of female role models for the industry, and a pipeline of future leaders.

Through the awards, we also recognise a number of senior individuals who are championing up-and-coming women, as well as any organisations that have designed and implemented successful initiatives and programmes in order to attract, retain and develop the female tech talent.

Finally, we applaud the often-voluntary efforts of the women in tech networks that operate across the UK, and again would like to formerly recognise these within our awards.

The TechWomen100 awards are the first of their kind to focus solely on the female tech talent pipeline and recognise the impact of champions, companies and networks that are leading the way.

September

September saw 'Amazon Future Engineer' launch in the UK to help children and young adults from low-income backgrounds build careers in Computer Science.

The UK needs an additional 38,000 workers with computer science-related skills, including 21,000 computer science graduates, to meet labour demands every year – or the economy could lose out on an estimated £33 billion a year by 2030, according to research by Capital Economics.

To help close that gap, Amazon launched Amazon Future Engineer in the UK – a comprehensive childhood-to-career programme to inspire, educate, and enable children and young adults to try computer science. By supporting the recruitment and training of 50 secondary school computer science teachers and over 200 ‘Careers Leaders’, launching robotics workshops for 10,000 children and creating other opportunities to experience computer science, Amazon Future Engineer is set to reach more than one million children and young people across the UK over the next two years.

InnovateHer featuredOctober

In October, InnovateHer teamed up with Sony to bring its eight week technology programme for teenage girls to more locations across the country.

The Digital Bootcamp programme aims to give girls aged between 12-16 valuable tech and interpersonal skills, whilst encouraging them to consider STEM subjects and careers in tech.

Unfortunately, current statistics show that girls make up only 20% of computer science entries at GCSE, and just ten per cent at A-level, with nine times more boys than girls gaining an A level in Computer Science this year. InnovateHer, whose mission is “to get girls ready for the tech industry, and the industry ready for girls”, has promised to tackle these figures by working with schools to reach over 1,000 girls by 2020.

The after school programme will teach girls technical skills, build confidence, and highlight local opportunities within the tech and digital industries. The collaboration with PlayStation has allowed InnovateHer to extend the programme to new locations, including Guildford and London.

The bootcamp is set to launch in selected schools in January 2020, and graduates of the programme will have the opportunity to showcase the work they have produced at next year’s Develop conference in Brighton.

November

Monster Confidence Bootcamp launched in London in November, with the hope of boosting STEM confidence in girls.

Jobs site, Monster.co.uk, and social enterprise, Stemettes, took Monster Confidence on the road to show the next generation that girls do Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) too, and give them the tools and confidence needed to secure a job.

Since launching the events in 2016, over 2,000 young women have attended to receive encouragement and guidance from industry experts on how to pursue careers and qualifications of their dreams within STEM fields. Monster Confidence will be hosting two further events this year across the UK where unemployment and is at its highest and social mobility at its lowest – Teesside and Peterborough.

Winners Banner with logo featuredDecember

In December, we announced our winners of the 2019 TechWomen100 Awards.

The winners of these awards showcase remarkable women within the technology and STEM sector including Alicia Carolina Beylan Navarrete, a Backend Software Engineer at Deliveroo who was recently awarded an exceptional talent visa sponsored by TechNation; Moriah Baxevane-Connell, a Cloud Consultant at Google, who works with customers across Europe to optimise their usage of Google Cloud Platform; Emma Lindley, an advisor and author on digital identity, and is also co-founder of Women in Identity, a not-for-profit organisation focused on developing talent and diversity in the identity industry; and Eva Meyer de Stadelhofen, Founder of GirlCode, an international non-profit and network which aims to reduce the gender gap in the STEM industry by teaching girls of age 8-17 how to code.


Five new women in technology appointed to techUK Board

Several ladies have been added to techUk’s board.

Following a Main Board Meeting and AGM in July new board members were elected and will sit for a three year term until July 2019.

techUK logoBoard member elected as a result of July’s meeting include:

Anthony Harmer, Chief Executive Officer, ELATT
Anthony Miller, Managing Partner, TechMarketView LLP
Karen Young, Managing Director, MDS Technologies
Nicola Hodson, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft

In addition newly nominated and selected members to the board include:

George Brasher, Managing Director, HP Inc UK Ltd
Melissa Di Donato, AVP, Wave Analytics EMEA, Salesforce
Sheila Flavell, Chief Operating Officer, FDM Group
Shona Nichols, Group Marketing and Communications Director, Capita
Mark Thompson, Senior Lecturer in Information Systems, Cambridge Judge Business School

Newly elected board member Karen Young, said: “techUK represents companies that are defining our future and to be elected as board member is a real privilege. As Managing Director of a UK based SME delivering solutions to the public sector I am proud of the growth we have achieved over the last three years and the difference we have made to society through the services we provide.

“I am also proud of our diversity agenda and in particular the development of Women in Tech. I am looking forward to working with the board to discuss and agree how to meet current challenges and take advantage of the opportunities for the technology industry in the UK."

Sheila Flavell, FDM Group, said: “I am delighted to be joining the Board of Tech UK. My passion to create gender balance and greater diversity in the tech industry is well known and I will be working to bring all stakeholders together to drive this forward.”

Mark Thompson, Senior Lecturer in Information Systems, Cambridge Judge Business School, said: “I’m motivated by just one question: ‘how will the shared infrastructure of the internet change the business model of government?’. A great deal of confusion still surrounds this fundamental question – amongst both government policymakers and technology companies.

“There has never been a clearer or more urgent need for techUK to provide leadership and clear thinking to help government reconfigure the UK technology marketplace; to grow mature ecosystems around platforms of common demand, the be ‘of the web’, rather than simply ‘on the web’. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to feed into techUK’s thinking about how we can be a prominent force for positive change in this regard.”


UK companies lack data, security, Python, Ruby, UI and UX talent

The tech sector lacks talented candidates in data, security, Python, Ruby, UI and UX, according to report into IT skills.

The report, by Hired, investigated supply, demand, interview requests and job offers.

Job Interview - Via Shutterstock
Job Interview - Via Shutterstock

Demand for security engineers spiked by 234% in the last 18 months alone and in addition the report found that the average salary for tech workers in London are lower than in Silicon Valley and New York. Salaries were found to be 38% higher in Silicon Valley than the UK and 35% higher in New York.

Hired conducted a survey to find out the views of companies and candidates. As a result the Mind the Gap report was created to identify which digital skills are in demand.

Jacqueline de Rojas, techUK President, provides a forward for the report in which she writes: “Digital skills are not just about the needs of tech companies – be they start-ups or multinationals. The UK needs people with the skills to help them keep pace and thrive in a digital future.

“This starts with inclusion – we must make sure that no part of the UK is left behind in the digital revolution, and people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds are given the tools and access to education to develop their digital skills.”

She added: “We must commit to challenging our employees and peers to learn new skills, or to update their current set, to ensure we remain ahead of the curve.”

Commenting on the report Claire Cockerton, CEO of ENTIQ, said: “Over the last decade the UK has worked tirelessly to become a centre of excellence in innovation and technology; today the industry is worth an incredible £161bn to the economy and supports more than 1.5million jobs across the country. Yet, as Hired’s report reminds us, there is always more we can, and indeed must do.”

“The statistics revealed a yawning skills gap emerging, with new skills such as data and security both vastly underserviced with talent. When considering the potential impact of Brexit, this becomes an even more concerning statistic. To address it, as an industry we must ensure we support free movement of talent and review the list of skills that are open for working visas, particularly in these key areas of technology that are currently underserviced.”

“Secondly, we must look to the long-term and work together with the Government to solve the education issue. There is a need to implement new initiatives in the curriculum that are consistently updated to reflect the ever-evolving nature of technology. Not only that but we must begin to celebrate our successes – and indeed openly address our failures; we must work together to showcase our technology entrepreneurs to the wider world to inspire tomorrow’s leaders. For the UK to remain a global player, it must address both of these points now, working to upskill current talent, as well as addressing the next generation. Only by doing that can we futureproof UK GDP. A failure to do so will see us fall behind on the global scale.”

Richard Shea, Managing Director EMEA Search of Futurestep , said: “This report has highlighted something the industry has been talking about for the last five years; but obviously, not enough action has been taken. The growing digital skills gap is worrying. By 2020, the UK alone will require 2.3 million digitally skilled workers. But according to these latest findings, supply is already falling incredibly short of catering to demand.

“To start bridging this gap between the cry for technology talent and the shallow pool we have on offer, we need to look to our grassroots and begin with education. As the UK continues to develop its digital economy and fuel the UK’s Plc, we are seeing an absence of students going on to study technology subjects at higher levels. This is where the pipeline of talent begins to leak and we lose potential members of the tech workforce.

“Yet too many organisations are waiting for governments or even competitors to do something to address it. All companies within the technology sector must take ownership of helping educate the younger generations; whether it’s through early employment careers, graduate recruitment or simply visiting schools with role model spokespeople, to solidify the UK’s future as a leading global hub with tech talent being the centre of its success.”

Paul Brown, Head of HR, Business and Application Services at Fujitsu EMEIA, said: “The findings of this Mind The Gap report make for concerning reading - particularly the fact that the uptake of technology degrees is falling over time. Our increasingly digitally-led business environment and society means that STEM and digital skills are essential in the UK, both within technology firms and virtually every other industry. Expertise in the fields of data analytics and security are increasingly important for all organisations, but we are already battling against skills gaps in these areas.

“STEM subjects clearly still suffer from an image problem. It’s often assumed that the only jobs that you can get with a degree in maths or engineering are highly technical and perhaps dull. We need to tackle these misconceptions and showcase how roles in technology are addressing some of the most important issues in society and creating new career paths as well as advancing economic growth.

“It’s also important to recognise that creativity and innovation can be as important as technical skill in ‘Digital’ jobs. Through engaging a diverse array of young people in STEM subjects and maintaining their interest through education and in to the workplace we will help protect the UK’s future competitiveness.”


TWAGs - Tech wives and girlfriends | Why fight for change when you can just follow the money?

With the media having recently coined the term “TWAG” – tech wives and girlfriends – society is being told, “that it’s much for women to marry tech money than make tech money” feminist writer and author Daisy Buchanan recently noted.

Tech wives and girlfriends (TWAGs): Why fight for change when you can just follow the money?
Woman shopping - Via Shutterstock

In an opinion piece for website The Pool she said: “As long as we’re obsessing about the wives and girlfriends of tech billionaires, we are putting women off entering tech.”

Buchanan refers to a sketch in which the late Victoria Wood and Julie Walters play two women catching up over lunch. Discussing her character’s daughter Walters’ says: “Susan’s still assistant catering manager at Wilkinsons, she says in a couple of years, if she plays her cards right, she could become catering manager’s girlfriend!”

Buchanan said the sketch makes her laugh but also makes her sad that despite being from the 1980s, not much as changed and society is still very quick to limit women’s ambitions by labeling them as professional girlfriends.

She noted that a decade ago society started an obsession with WAGs – the wives and girlfriends of famous, highly paid sports stars – and becoming one was seen as a legitimate career goal. She said: “While there was much hand-wringing about what this was doing to the ambitions of young women, we didn’t stop lauding the WAGs for their choice of husbands, handbags and haircuts.”

Buchanan said she first saw the term TWAG in the Sunday Times, which also used “founder hounders” to describe women who date or marry tech founders.

She noted that Model Miranda Kerr has recently become engaged to Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel, Lily Cole dated Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and that Amber Heard is seeing Paypal co-founder and tech billionaire Elon Musk.

With the gender pay gap currently standing at 13.9% for full time workers in the UK, and it taking an estimated 117 years to close, Buchanan questions: “Why fight for change when we could just follow the money?”

She also pointed out that the most prominent TWAGS are successful women with careers of their own. For instance Lily Cole is well know in tech industry as being a Cambridge graduate and a tech entrepreneur.

Buchanan concluded: “If we want to make way for women, something has to alter the way that we talk about ourselves, and what we achieve. We can’t be defined by our bodies and our relationships any longer.”

You can follow Daisy Buchanan on Twitter: @notrollergirl