Last year it was reported 50,000 girls were turning away from a STEM education each year. An extensive PwC survey showed that only three per cent of females expressed that a career in tech would be their first choice, with only five per cent of females holding leadership positions in the sector.
“I wanted to use my experience, alongside insights from some North West digital heavyweights, to ask the question ‘Why aren’t there more female web developers?’,” says Andy Golpys.
Golpys has worked as a university lecturer for eight years, focusing on web design and development alongside running successful web design studio, MadeByShape.
He says he found that for graphic design students choosing between disciplines such as illustration, photography, web design or motion, only around 50 per cent of students choose web and of this small number very few are female.
“Do we need to look at why enough female students aren’t picking web as an option?,” he says.
“If so, does work need to be done to reinforce how big the industry is (and is likely to grow), how many opportunities there are for jobs, or how eye catching the pay salaries and company benefits are?
“The number of females choosing Graphic Design and similar courses is high, so what is the reason for them not to choosing web, with digital now emerging as a bigger industry than print design?
“Are they just not interested in coding all day every day? Would they rather be on the creative or client side of an agency? Or is it simply that a career in tech has not been previously mentioned to them and so it has never been considered?”
Golpys adds that he has noticed movement in the area in the last couple of years with actions being taken to address the issues and figureheads in the sector engaging in activity to help make a change.
“At MadeByShape we have provided numerous opportunities to students and graduates, both male and female, to come and work with us on live briefs, with team members on hand to answer questions,” he says.
The company is also now working with local colleges to target a younger audience by offering work experience to those interested in the digital sector.
“During a three week placement, that individual will gain a great insight and have a good idea whether this is something that they enjoy; this is a valuable opinion to take away.”
He summarises: “We all know that there is a massive digital skills gap in this country; add to that the fact that women are hugely under-represented in the sector and you’re left with something of a problem.
“No matter who you are or where you work, the gender gap in tech already impacts you so what is important now are the steps we take to start closing this together.”