Unprecedented growth in UK tech jobs raises concerns over gender disparity
ONS data has revealed tech employment has seen one of the fastest growth rates in the last decade, indicating that hiring freezes and layoffs in the sector may be rebounding.
A rise of around 85,000 UK tech jobs between Apr-Jun 2023 almost completely offsets massive cuts in the sector made to the tune of around 87,000 between Oct-Dec 2022.
Whilst the UK, and London in particular, remains a hub for tech activity, the rest of Europe shows promising signs of growth too. The number of active job postings in tech related fields across the region increased by 11.4% since March 2023.
However, this sharp uptake is tech jobs has been less than equitable. As the industry booms, the progress made by growing numbers of women in the industry has slowed down.
Whilst the number of women in tech has increased year on year, the current surge in tech jobs in the UK has been dominated by men. This has caused the percentage gap between men and women in tech to widen, as shown on the chart below.
Figures from the rest of Europe seem to tell a similar story. According to a McKinsey Digital study, the share of women in tech roles across Europe is heading towards a decline to around 21% by 2027.
“Furthermore, the share of women in the workforce is lowest in the tech roles that are growing fastest, such as DevOps and cloud,” the report explains.
A TechInformed report showed that within major tech companies in the UK and US, women predominantly led HR functions and marketing roles. Non-technical roles are often the first to go during downturns – unlike senior roles, in which women are also underrepresented.
The McKinsey report predicts that the problem of gender disparity in tech will get worse, as the numbers of women graduating from university in STEM disciplines is also declining.
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