Shattering the stereotype: Are Britain’s tech jobs just created for men?

2016 has started off with a big bang in the product innovation sector with the launch of new technology, gadgets and even robots disrupting the marketplace. But is there a place for women to make a difference in the market or not?

A survey by O2 reveals that, at 47 per cent, almost half of 11 to 18 year olds believe that the tech industry is better suited to men, while only four per cent feel the sector best suits women.

The tech industry is highly male dominated and women do have a tough job in the sector, especially when it comes to the gender pay gap, and these results show there is still along way to go when it comes to stereotypes – especially among the younger generations. 

Many new gadgets, products and services are aimed the female market, and some clients specifically ask for female consultants on their team, especially as women as consumers have such strong spending power and decision-making capabilities.

There are many innovations aimed particularly at women and there are certainly more to come, so it’s important to keep a balance of women and men in senior positions. 

There’s some great female talent coming into the innovation and tech industry at graduate level and also managers coming in from other types of consultancy companies. However, many of the more senior positions tend to be occupied by males as females either drop out of their careers or do not continue in this profession.

It’s a shame that these talented women do not make it to the more senior positions but a lot can be done to support women and help them get to the top, as well as encouraging younger females to consider this sector for their career path. 

Having more women in these senior positions will certainly draw in more women and inspire them to continue to pursue their careers so it’s important to attract and retain this talent.

Women can often look at a project from a different perspective than men and can be more flexible, inclusive and explorative when looking for solutions.

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I’d strongly encourage girls to enter a career in innovation and product design as it’s exciting, fast-paced, allows you to be creative and methodical and brings a great sense of achievement when you launch a new product.

It would be interesting to see how opinions shift over the coming years, especially among younger generations, and the new national computing curriculum is certainly expected to bring excitement and enthusiasm to school children and young people. 

We need better collaboration between businesses, schools and educators, and parents too, to encourage more diversity in workplaces and to quash some of the myths about stereotypes. It’s important to focus on the next generation to ensure a level playing field for their career aspirations.

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Drawing on years of the First Women movement and the phenomenal network of pioneering women the Awards has created, this programme features The First Women Awards and The First Women Summit  designed to educate, mentor and inspire women in all levels of business.

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Heidi Yli-Ojanpera is the principal consultant at design consultancy Market Gravity, which boasts clients including Boots and HSBC

Image: Shutterstock

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