Amount of women studying STEM subjects has dropped to 18%

With activities such as coding, gaming, and programming becoming more popular than ever, it’s perhaps unsurprising that 78 per cent believe that ICT at school will help children get a better job later in life.

“Not every child will grow up to be a Mark Zuckerberg or a Steve Jobs,” said Roddy McLean, a computer upgrade expert from Crucial.com. “However, basic ICT skills can really help later in life – not only with finding a job, but also with making home life easier.

“But one common problem that people suffer from today is a slow running computer, and knowing how to fix this problem can save time and money.”

Crucial.com survey respondents agreed, revealing that learning how to correctly use computers is one of the most important subjects to learn at school (68 per cent), even more so than maths (59 per cent) and English (46 per cent).

But the core issue, it seems, is still the under-representation of women who currently make up less than one fifth of the IT workforce.

Previous Centre for Economic and Business Research suggested that by increasing the number of women working in IT alone, the industry could generate an extra £2.6bn a year for the UK economy

These findings emphasise the real benefits of encouraging women to learn more about this innovative and ever-growing sector. But for this to happen, more women need to be studying STEM subjects in higher education.

Read more about the IT gender gap:

A recent freedom of information (FOI) request by Information Age, found that just 18 per cent of students enrolled in computing courses in the 2014-15 academic year. This compares to the 19 per cent that graduated from computing degrees in the last academic year and 20 per cent the year before.

Gerry Arthurs, Virgin Media Business’s education lead said: “It’s astonishing that well under a quarter of those studying computing at university are women, given the increasing recognition about the importance of STEM subjects by the government and the introduction of coding into the national curriculum, and within industry at large.
 
“Technology is incredibly important in a modern education and it needs to be across the board, from primary schools all the way through to further education in universities and colleges.
 
“It is essential that people aren’t put off from pursuing the careers they want, or are denied a competitive advantage, due to a lack of digital or technical skills.
 
“Technology is at the heart of every successful business so it’s bad news all round if people, male or female, feel that they can’t or don’t want to study subjects like computing.”

Concerned with issues surrounding gender diversity in business? Don’t miss Real Business’s First Women programme:

Drawing on ten 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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