A recent study by UCAS and IT security solutions provider Cheeky Munkey has found that over the last decade, the number of female applicants to tech degrees has risen by 82%. Whilst this is a positive increase, women are still hugely unrepresented with over 4 in 5 computer science degree applicants being male.
In the same time frame, male applications have increased by 52%, showing an overall increase in the interest of tech degrees. The news comes as the Office for National Statistics figures showed that the technology sector was the 3rd fastest growing in the UK for job growth between July and September 2021. Women represented 71% of professionals placed during this period.
This is promising news in the journey to close the gender gap, but there is much more to be done to encourage more women to join the sector. In 2021, just 17% of applicants to computer science courses were women. Artificial intelligence courses have the highest proportion of female applicants of all of the computer science courses, but it’s still only 1 in 5.
Overall, the tech industry in the UK is growing at a fast rate. Over the last 10 years we’ve seen a 57% increase in applicants studying to join the sector. There’s also a trend of over 35 year olds retraining to choose a career in tech, with the number rising by 19% compared to before the pandemic.
Graham Lane, Director of Cheeky Munkey, says:
“Demand for IT professionals is as strong as ever, especially with disciplines like artificial intelligence set to grow rapidly in the coming years. Failure to meet demand, by shutting certain groups out, and the UK could be left behind in an industry that’s crucial to the economy.
“The sector can only benefit from more perspectives and different experiences, and employers get much greater choice when it comes to finding the best people for each role.
“Graduates provide fresh thinking and come to businesses equipped with the latest in IT theory. The more graduates – whether they’re men or women – entering the industry, the better the pool of talent available.”