Over the past few years there has been pressure on tech companies from both inside and outside the industry to encourage more women to pursue careers in tech. New research has revealed that almost 87% of the UKs full time workforce either work flexibly or would like to do so. Furthermore, 91% of women who were surveyed said that they would like to work flexibly compared to 8% of men.
The perception that working flexible hours shouldn’t just be given to women who have children, it is becoming more common, especially with millennials who are soon to lead the pack when it comes to new ways of working. Being given the option to have a work pattern that involves reduced hours, shift choices or the ability to work from home is becoming more what people want from their employers.
With this being said, and with a lack of females in the technology sector, it is surprising to see the rise of women in tech contractors. According to a study, the number of women in tech contractors has increased by almost 25% in the space of a year. Women are now accounting for 16.5% of the total IT contractors. Although the percentage is still small and more needs to be done to attract more women into tech, overall, the number of women contractors has steadily increased since 2010. But it’s not just women who are attracted to contracting benefits. The number of IT contractors has increased over the past 12 months by 4.5%, which is more than the general IT workforce increase of 3.9% year on year.
Although contracting is generally riskier than working in a permanent position, more people are starting to realise the benefits of working for themselves. One of the reasons why women may be turning to contracting is because of the flexibility it gives them that employers aren’t offering. Along with this, the lack of talent in the tech sector is enabling IT professionals to be driven by demand for the use of their skills.
Women in tech contractors aren’t the only ones who are reaping the benefits from being self-employed. Large organisations are starting to hire more contractors as they can’t guarantee their cash flow, especially with the threat of Brexit. Therefore, businesses are starting to favour contractors as it produces a smaller financial risk.
Skills for women in tech contractors
In any career there will always be desirable skills which is the same in the contractor’s tech industry. If you are a woman in tech and are looking to become a contractor, then you should ensure that you have the following skills in order to help you become successful:
Communication – As a contractor you will be working closely with other people on various projects, so communication is a key skill to have if you want to be successful. By being a contractor, you will give the impression to everyone that you are an expert in tech, and they will come to you with their problems. Therefore, it is important to be able to engage with them about their issues and relate to people, as this will help build your client base. Being able to explain tech issues with your clients to make it easier for them to understand will help your project go a long way.
Being tech savvy – This will come as an obvious point to all IT contractors, but you need to be able to demonstrate you have an all-round knowledge of technology, especially to your clients. You should be familiar with and have a good understanding of programming languages and coding. Having a deep understanding of your industry will set you apart from other IT contractors and it’ll enable you to charge more money.
Continued learning – The technology world is very fast paced and is constantly growing. There are always new devices being realised which require new programming languages and software. It is important to keep up to date with the new technology that is bought out as it is changing every year. Keep taking classes and gaining new qualifications as this will bring you new experiences and help you to be the best IT contractor you can be.