Gender Imbalance and Skills Gap in UK IT Recruitment

Posted April 12 2018 By David Stark


Recently, the news has been filled with the reporting of the UK Gender Pay Gap, wherein businesses declared their median hourly rate for their male and female employees. Without doubt, it revealed a real problem in gender bias across several industries – from construction to finance and banking. The UK IT industry, is facing an equally important crisis: A skills gap owing to lack of female talent.

Leading UK IT executives are pessimistic that we will see improvement any time soon. The distinct gender imbalance in our technology industry is posing a problem for the burgeoning skills gap. The problem runs deeper than the state of the current market; lack of uptake in STEM subjects for young females of school age has led to this growing skills gap.

A failure to capture the interest of young girls and women has resulted in an industry that is male heavy. The most recent research gathered by Tech City UK and Hays Recruitment has revealed that more than a third of young males have expressed a desire to work in the IT sector, compared to just 13% of females. It would seem, unfortunately, that – from school age – certain subjects or careers are still viewed as “for boys” or “for girls”.

Technology industry trade association, CompTIA, are pessimistic on the issue. They argue that 2018 will prove to be an increasingly difficult year for IT recruiters trying to source great new talent. Here at HRC Recruitment, we are proud supporters of women in tech, and regularly attend industry attends in order to promote the visibility of women in the industry. Our industry recruiter, Jennifer Scott, is particularly passionate about encouraging young women to make their way in the market.

If this trend of gender imbalance and skills gap does – as predicted – increase throughout the year, businesses will have to adopt a different approach to recruitment in order to solve the problem before it gets worse. Without doing so, there could be a significant impact on the UK’s exciting digital economy. In our own experiences within the market, hiring managers can end up taking too long to get a candidate to interview or to make an offer. With such a talent shortage, firms will have to move quicker in order to secure access to the best talent.

We strive to really get to know our clients – what their company culture is like, how their day to day operates and what type of candidate would act as a great brand ambassador – so that we can place the right talent in front of them. This level of support is key if the IT market is to plug the skills gap.

Most importantly, if the industry is to attract more female talent, businesses must look objectively at their diversity policies and company culture. CompTIA’s survey goes on to state that “nearly two thirds of IT professionals agree that an organisation with a heterogeneous employee base is more likely to produce world class innovation.” Change really is the way forward (which is somewhat ironic for an industry that prides itself of being non-traditional).

If you would like to speak to me, or my team, about securing great IT talent for your business, click here to get in touch.



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