Across Europe, there are shortages in resourcing the tech industry – which is a big problem for world leaders who are reliant on the development of cutting edge technologies in STEM industries to grow GDP and boost the economy. Currently only 22% of the workforce is female – however if European nations could double the amount of of women in the tech workforce to about 45 percent (around 3.9 million) by 2027 it wouldn’t just resolve the issues of the talent gap – but could also increase GDP by as much as €260 billion to €600 billion!

This research came from an investigation, led by McKinsey, trying to understand the gender gap. In looking into the challenges in training and retaining women in tech they discovered that girls drop out of STEM pathways at two critical junctures: the transition between primary and secondary schools and from university to the workforce.

Their research found that key reasons why girls drop STEM subject in the transition to secondary school is  down to a few key factors:
  • Conscious and unconscious biases that communicate to young girls that STEM is for boys, and not for them.
  • Lack of support for girls from teachers, parents and peers about pursuing a career in STEM.
There are lots of ways we can address and challenge these biases. We can make sure we call on girls and boys equally in class, that we provide information to students and parents about exciting career pathways in the STEM industries. There are lots of schools in the UK that are doing brilliant work in reversing the gender gap trend (I’ll explore that more in depth next week).

And it’s not all gloom and doom! In 2021 UCAS shared that girls applying for courses in IT had increased by 82% over 10 years! And between 2019 and 2021 alone there was an increased 10% in female applicants for computer science roles. Is it enough? Sadly, no. But is it a start? Absolutely!