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27 February, 2019 - 11:49 By Jamie Quested

Arm and FeatureSpace back PwC bid to attract more females to tech roles

Cambridge UK innovation trailblazers Arm and Featurespace are among 94 organisations that have committed to support a flagship charter created by PwC to attract more females to pursue technology careers.

Accountant and business adviser PwC is thrilled by the response to its ‘Tech She Can’ charter which was launched just a year ago.

The charter is based on PwC research among more than 2,000 A-Level and university students that showed the gender gap in technology starts at school and carries on through every stage of females’ lives.

Only 27 per cent of female students surveyed by PwC said they would consider a career in technology, compared to 61 per cent of males, and only three per cent of females said it was their first choice.

The charter aims to tackle the root cause of the gender gap problem at a societal level by inspiring and educating young girls and women to get into tech careers and sharing best practice across the organisations involved. 

The charter partners have agreed to collectively work with over 9,000 schools across the UK to educate and inspire pupils and teachers about technology careers. The goal is to develop technology toolkits, which will be available to all UK schools to download from the ‘Tech She Can’ website.

The organisations will also address the issue of a lack of female role models within technology, which may be deterring young girls from entering the sector. 

PwC says that females aren’t considering technology careers as they’re not given enough information on what working in the sector involves and also because no one is putting it forward as an option to them.

A lack of female role models is also reinforcing the perception that a technology career isn’t for them, says PwC. Only 22 per cent of students can name a famous female working in technology, whereas two thirds can name a famous man working in technology.

Over a quarter of female students say they’ve been put off a career in technology as it’s too male dominated.

PwC is calling on companies to highlight how technology is a force for good if they want to attract more females to the sector. Half the females surveyed said the most important factor when deciding their future career was satisfaction that the work they did made the world a better place.

Martina King, CEO of fraud-busting technology pioneer Featurespace, told Business Weekly: “The technology sector represents our country's best example of leading innovation, globally. At Featurespace we are looking for a wide range of skills to develop and bring to market machine learning for good - protecting our customers and their clients from attack is a noble cause.

“We are a machine learning company built by people for people. There are a variety of roles – technical and non-technical – where our team members are able to make a considerable difference to our company's success.

“Having worked across many sectors embracing  media, services, retail, charitable and leisure, I can vouch for the technology sector being the most exciting and vibrant of them all.

“We welcome diversity in all of its wonderful nuances and applaud PWC for this exciting initiative to encourage young women to consider a career in technology: We need you!”

Sian Steele
Sian Steele, PwC

Sian Steele, who heads up PwC’s new flagship office in Cambridge, added: “I’m really proud of our ‘Tech She Can’ charter and delighted with the support that it is receiving. 

“Encouraging diversity in the workplace is absolutely essential if businesses are to be able to access the talent needed to continue to push ahead. 

“Access to skills in the technology and science area is essential for our local market if Cambridge is to remain at the forefront in solving 21st century problems.”

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