This post is sponsored by Technically Compatible.
Turns out that as a subject more girls like coding than boys AND more want to do IT work experience, so why the gender gap? Only 11% of girls plan to continue studying ICT and it’s not just the gender split in the tech industry that’s a problem but a full sector-wide skills issue.
The team at Technically Compatible has gone straight to the next generation to find out how they view tech and what we can do now to encourage our future workforce in a bid to plug the gap before it’s too late. This is what we found, some of it may surprise you.
What really matters?
- Making a difference and being creative are the two most important attributes for teenagers. Tech can answer both. Can we position the industry more favourably towards these to attract the younger generation?
- Young people have no idea what the paths to entry or what a tech career looks like nor where to find this information. Tech doesn’t just mean programming – how can we better show off the huge variety there is in the tech sector to Gen Z?
Work experience works & code clubs don’t
- We learned 67% of teenagers who have done work experience say it’s had a positive effect on their thoughts of a future career in IT. Meanwhile, 10% more teenagers think tech is cooler than IT. Time for a rebrand?
- Only 22% of teenagers who have been part of a coding club still attend (and only 22% of teenagers have ever been part of one). Code clubs are clearly not the answer.
Tech perceptions vs. preferences
- Science is the second most popular subject after Creative for girls. Creative is the second for boys, after Technical.
- 78% of those surveyed did not have a parent / guardian working in IT but those that do are 25% more likely to engage in tech/coding activity outside the classroom.
- Teenagers are interested in tech that is relevant to them. i.e. engaging them in the workings of social media or gaming would make a huge difference in peaking their interest in IT.
- Only 11% wouldn’t consider a career in tech (and there was no difference between the sexes in those that said no).
- This shows that they’re certainly open to it, and understand the importance of it but they don’t know how to get into it or if 1) they’d be good at it and 2) it would be something they enjoyed.
What does this mean?
It’s about taking the first steps to getting kids interested in tech and adjusting their perceptions to see the fun side of it, that it’s not rocket science and that they can change the world with it.
They’ve already identified these but need some encouragement from the industry to give definite understanding that Sally can combine science and technology to carve out her dream career, that John can be a soldier and thrive in the army with his coding skills, that Megan can be hugely creative by building an app that thousands want to download and Mark can change the world by developing technology that creates clean water from stagnant pools.
Inspiring kids with the endless possibilities that technology provides at their fingertips is the first step to attracting more interest in the industry and closing that much talked about skills gap.
About the author: Technically Compatible is an online IT skills testing tool designed to streamline the recruitment of IT, web and software professionals. The platform is used by companies all over the world to hire top tech talent. Through a combination of flexible question types, auto scored code challenges and weighted technologies, Technically Compatible allows employers to spend time with only the right candidates, significantly reducing screening time and promoting faster, better hiring decisions.