McGrath: Tech gender gap must be addressed
“Digital skills are playing an ever greater role in our economy and will be a cornerstone of the future labour market. While traditional industries have struggled over the last number of years, the digital technology sector has continued to experience rapid growth. Only this week we saw the expansion of Futrli and the creation of 80 jobs in Belfast.
“It is deeply concerning, therefore, that there remains a significant gender gap in digital technology and skills courses in our schools. The working paper published by CCEA reports that only 14% of A-Level computing candidates in 2018 were girls. In this environment, the rapid growth, not just of digital technology jobs, but of digital skills in traditional sectors puts women and girls at a significant competitive disadvantage unless we take action to address it.
“The report points to the stereotype of computer geeks as men and the need to present more female role models to young girls considering a job in the tech sector. We clearly need a significant campaign to promote these skills and the jobs they lead to with girls in school. Not just for their own benefit, but to ensure the growing sector is diverse and does not become another boys club.”