Record number of women join the technology sector in Scotland

The number of women joining the technology sector has risen in Scotland by more than 30%, according to new research published by Skills Development Scotland.

Analysis of the most recent ONS Annual Population Survey shows the number of women in tech has risen from 18% to 23.4% in the last two years, and has more than doubled in the last eight, rising from 10,300 women working in tech in 2010, up to 24,000 in 2018.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) announced the news on Ada Lovelace Day, a global celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), which is named after the woman acknowledged as being the world’s first computer programmer.

“Industry, government, educationalists, and charity organisations have all been working together to try and address the gender imbalance, and our concerted efforts are starting bear digital fruit,” said Claire Gillespie, sector manager for digital technologies at SDS.

Mentoring in schools; the introduction of digital skills into broader subjects such as languages, art and music; the creation of best practice guides and tool kits for employers, and a real focus by colleges and universities to address the gender gap were all cited as reasons for the positive trend.

However, Gillespie believes much more still needs to be done. “Complacency will be the enemy of progress ,” she warned. “The last thing we need is to take three steps forward and two steps back when tackling this very real and problematic issue.

“We look forward to continuing our work with organisations like Girl Geek Scotland, Education Scotland, Equate, Scottish Government, ScotlandIS and of course the wider industry to help fill the 13,000 digital vacancies that exist in Scotland every year.”

Specific diversity plans in the coming year include a big push on mentoring and case studies; working in partnership with the charity sector to target young females, and the continued promotion and creation of digital apprenticeships.

A National Gender Conference, organised by the Scottish Funding Council, will also take place on the 25 October. The event will look at widening access, improving recruitment and admissions, enhancing student engagement, and reducing gender-based violence at colleges and universities.

Pictured: Supta Das, an IT partner management analyst at Scottish Water.