Kearney report demands action to close gender gap in tech sector

Kearney report demands action to close gender gap in tech sector

Business Forum
Leading global consultancy Kearney has today released its Gap to Gateway report on the gender divide in the tech sector, in collaboration with UN Women UK. Kearney carried out a comprehensive literature review, and held a workshop with more than 60 experts across the tech ecosystem, to develop the following recommendations.

1. For educators

The industry needs to inspire and enable more women to pursue a role in STEM at an early stage, and throughout their careers. At an early stage this include removing bias from the STEM curriculum and exposing all children to technology subjects and strengthening curriculum standards so they are a requirement rather than an option.

As women progress through their education, it is important that there are relatable role models, networking opportunities, and customised tech career progression services. Educators should also be offering flexible learning opportunities such as online classes, part-time programs, or out-of-hours classes to fit around women's work and personal responsibilities.

2. For employers and investors

Once we have more girls and women choosing technology as a career choice, the focus must be on retaining them in the industry. This means tailoring recruitment strategies including targeted outreach initiatives to attract women candidates, partnerships with women-focused tech organisations, diverse recruitment panels and job descriptions written in gender-neutral language.

Strategies to keep women in the tech sector should also include equal pay for equal work, regular pay audits, and benefits which includes flexible working hours, breaks for caregiving, and opportunities for women to step out of the day job to develop their knowledge and skills. Companies who successfully demonstrate gender-inclusivity should be recognised through certification programs that award companies for meeting gender-inclusive standards.

Improved access to funding and venture capital will encourage and enable more women founders, too and this should be prioritised to get more women-led technology start-ups off the ground.

3. For governments

Responsibility for improving inclusivity in the tech sector also lies with policymakers, who have the ability to design and enforce policies that encourage equal participation in tech roles and leadership positions. They also need to develop initiatives aimed at increasing the uptake of STEM by girls and young women, and make sure that digital skills training is widely accessible by women and other underrepresented groups.

"In Romania, women occupy only about 30% of leadership positions in the largest companies, and the percentage falls to 10% for CEO roles. While these percentages are slightly above the EU average, they are far from the ambitions we should have for gender equality in leadership positions," commented Alexandra Velescu, Director of Kearney's Bucharest Office. "Regarding the representation of women in leadership roles, particularly in the technology sector and beyond, I think the biggest challenge is retaining them in the industry and creating systems that provide equal advancement opportunities, even after the responsibilities associated with having a family arise," she added.

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