28 September 2016

Should female technologists be celebrated? I think so!

women do tech event

Arlene and apprentice Beth posting a selfie at the Women Do Tech event with Barclays.

One of our team members spoke yesterday at a national event in Knutsford, organised to showcase female technology talent and next month we’re hosting a Girls in Tech event by Clicky Media to give young women interested in tech and digital careers an opportunity to sign up to workshops and network.

These events are important, not because women in tech are currently a rare species or because they face an ongoing struggle, but because they can make a massive difference to any technology business – mine being the perfect example.

I founded UKFast with my wife Gail, who is still an integral, essential part of the company. In my opinion, our business is where it is today because we had the right balance of skills, perspectives and character. It helped us make the best possible decisions.

It is a well-known fact that the technology industry is traditionally male-dominated. I think the tech industry has struggled for years finding the right kind of balance, and it is still tackling that same challenge. Diversity in the workplace is essential to generate ideas and stay innovative.

It absolutely baffles me that there are still technology businesses that seem to be unable to find female talent to accelerate their growth. There are now more than 3,000 digital businesses in Manchester alone, but according to Manchester Digital’s research report earlier this year, one in five digital firms in the north employ no women at all. Some figures say that by 2040 only 1% of the tech sector will be female. This can’t be right!

At UKFast we want to improve the position of women in tech, and we listen to our team to work out exactly how we can do that. In our Campus we’ve created a work space that I hope makes everyone feel at home. It’s really important to me that the whole team feels happy and healthy and is able to enjoy a good work-life balance. To help this, we’ve built an on-site crèche and offer school working hours, allowing parents – both male and female – to spend time with their family.

The industry is definitely changing, but we need to keep working hard to ensure that STEM careers are as open to women as they are to men. I think events like the ones mentioned in this blog make a difference in keeping the conversation going and ensure that we keep moving forwards, rather than backwards.

What do you think? What changes should we make in the tech industry to attract more women?

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