The Computing & CRN Women in Tech Festival 2022 is returning to London in November and presents a perfect opportunity to share knowledge, build networks and celebrate success.
We may have just passed the midpoint of 2022 but it's already clear that it will be a pivotal year for women working in technology. The pandemic and the working conditions it engendered, affected women - particularly those with children - in a separate way to their male colleagues. The hybrid era has created new challenges for women in terms of establishing boundaries and prioritising mental health - but it also brings a wealth of potential opportunities.
The impact of hybrid working patters is just one of the topics that will be discussed at the Computing & CRN Women in Tech Festival in November. The festival is back in central London on Thursday 3rd November and will be broadcast from our London studio on Wednesday 9th November. In addition to taking part in roundtable discussions and networking opportunities, delegates can hear industry leaders speaking on subjects including diversity in cyber security, the importance of age in digital inclusion and how many women in tech careers have successfully moved laterally from other areas of a business.
The festival offers the opportunity to celebrate being a woman working in technology and encourage more women to pursue careers in the industry. The fact remains that whilst there is much to celebrate, there is also still much to do to improve the participation rates of women, particularly women of colour and those belonging to LGBTQ communities at all levels of technology - particularly those nearer the top.
Women in Tech by numbers
Data about women working in tech has to be pieced together from a variety of sources, and one story often seems to contradict another. For example, in August 2021, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the number of women working in ICT in the UK fell 8.9% in the second quarter of 2021 - a much greater rate that the overall 1.35% reduction in employment in the sector as a whole.
However, towards the end of last year, the ONS also reported that 71% of the professionals placed in ICT in the third quarter of the same year were women. Some of this apparent contradiction can be accounted for by women changing jobs but remaining in the industry - but not all of it.
Further research yields little in the way of clarity. The Tech Talent Charter Diversity in Tech Report 2021 suggests that female employment in tech increased slightly from 25 - 27% in 2021. This increase can be viewed from multiple perspectives. Some outlets reported the pace of change in women's tech employment as a glacial 2%. However, more optimistic (and possibly numerate) types would view an increase from 25% as an increase of 8% on the original - which constitutes a significant rise in one year.
Follow my leader
Whether the proportion of women working in technical roles is 25% or 27% it's still nowhere near enough to even begin to change the male dominated image of the industry. For that to change more women need to be in tech leadership roles. Data on female tech leadership is sparser than that on overall employment rates, but what there is makes for hard reading
Figures from the US are a little more cheering - but only a little. Deloitte suggest that women will make up 25.3% of tech leadership roles by the end of this year - an increase of almost 20% since 2019.
This data comes from large, global tech firms. Many of these firms are headquartered in North America, in states such as California and Washington which have enacted board diversity legislation. There is currently no prospect of similar legislation in the UK. If a company has fewer than 250 employees they don't even have to report their gender pay gap.
The fact is that women working in tech remain a minority and become a progressively smaller one the higher up the ladder you look.
Agenda for change
The agenda for the Women in Tech Festival contains practical advice on how to shake up the tech workplace. It includes panel discussions on how to get more women into leaderships roles and looks at how to overcome some of the challenges that women have some control over such as imposter syndrome and those over which they don't such as workplace bias and banter. Speakers will share their stories of winning recognition in a male dominated workplace and share ways that all minorities in tech can support and raise up each other.
Computing is hosting the Women in Tech Festival live in London on 3 November and digitally on 9 November.
Join us to learn how the industry can keep championing diversity and make positive changes. Find your sense of belonging as we bring together the tech industry to collaborate, learn, and grow.
Find out more: Women in Tech Festival