The majority of young women don't consider a career in technology when starting out, new figures reveal, with one top consultancy warning that hiring practices must change to attract female talent.
Of a thousand university students surveyed, 73 per cent of women said they hadn't considered a graduate job in technology. And Men were found to have more confidence in their technology skills than women - 57 per cent versus 37 per cent according to the survey by KPMG and High Fliers.
“The issue here isn’t around competency - far from it - but rather how businesses understand the underlying capability of an individual and how to unlock it. I think this research highlights the work that needs to be done to show the next generation that when it comes to a career in tech, gender isn’t part of the equation," said KPMG head of digital transformation Aiden Brennan.
“Competition for jobs is tough, and we know that female job seekers can be less likely to apply for a role than their male counterparts if they don’t feel they already possess every pre-requisite the job demands. Businesses committed to building a truly diverse workforce need to adapt their recruitment processes to reflect this, and ensure they don’t fall into the trap of listening only to those who shout about their capability loudest.”
While the consultancy has a 50/50 gender spilt in its annual graduate intake of around 1,000 people, it warned that positive action must be taken to keep it that way.
"To maintain this level of equality in an increasingly digital world, it’s vital that more women... have the confidence that their tech skills will be applicable for a role at a professional services firm like ours," said interim head of people in the UK Anna Purchas.
“As business leaders we must take positive action to bust the myth that there is just one type of person for any one job, highlight the value of diversity, and boost the confidence of young people as they prepare for the world of work."
Separate research suggests women are underrepresented in technology jobs more widely. In Tech City UK's annual Tech Nation report found the UK's digital technology companies are overwhelmingly male, while a recent report from Diversity VC found nearly two-thirds of venture capital firms don't have a single woman decision maker at partner level or above.
The news comes amid a wider debate around women in technology. Google was caught in a storm over an anti-diversity memo written by a now-fired employee who claimed a lack of gender parity was down to biology.