Women make up less of the UK tech workforce than they did five years ago. Reversing this trend will be on the agenda of the Women in Tech Festival in October.
The Women in Tech Festival is taking place on 31st October in London and will bring together hundreds of the sharpest and most influential women working in technology to connect, share experiences, and inspire.
Among the keynotes, panel discussions and fireside chats are sessions focused on how to encourage teenage girls to consider tech careers, and how to reduce the rate of attrition for more experienced women, which remains higher than that of their male colleagues.
Female attrition from technology is a complex topic. It is difficult to unpick the forces a company can control from wider societal and cultural expectations, and the effects of socialisation.
That said, one guaranteed way to encourage a woman who might be a few years into her career to leave the sector and never return is to cut the proportion of women working with, around or for her. This has been the reality playing out over the last couple of years.
A US analysis a few months ago suggested that global tech job cuts were falling disproportionately on women and other groups underrepresented in technology, with the outcome that tech was becoming less diverse. Now, a study of National Statistics data commissioned by Integro Accounting has zeroed in on the UK and confirmed that here, redundancies have fallen disproportionately upon female employees.
According to this analysis, the proportion of female employees in the UK tech sector has fallen for the first time in five years. In 2018 the proportion of female UK tech employees stood at approximately 17%. This proportion increased, albeit slowly, to 22.7% in 2021. In 2022 the figure stood at 20.1%.
The proportion of tech contractors who are female declined at a faster rate, from 16.8% in 2021 to 12.1% in 2022.
The data also shows that the number of female tech employees fell in absolute terms between 2021 and 2022 from 384,025 to 359,154, a decline of 6.5% in a single year. Interestingly, the number of tech workers (both employees and contractors) increased by 4.1% from 1,827,851 in 2021 to 1,903,671 in 2022.
Logic therefore suggests that the number of male tech employees has also risen; and it has, from 1,306,833 in 2021 to 1,419,590 in 2022. For readers disinclined to do the maths, this is an increase of 8.6%.