A leading North West creative director and university lecturer, Andy Golpys, has called on digital businesses to assist more women into high-growth tech careers.
In 2016, figures showed that 50,000 girls were turning their backs on STEM subjects every year. A comprehensive study carried out by PwC revealed that just 3pc of females had marked tech careers as their initial choice. Only 5pc of women currently hold leadership positions in tech industries.
Mr Golpys, who is the co-founder of MadeByShape, a web design studio in the North West, said that he wanted to bring his experience to bear, along with insights from primary players in the Northern digital sector, to challenge the industry to bring in more female developers.
Issues begin at study stage
He said that his experience as a digital university lecturer had revealed that, when graphic design students came to choose a focus discipline – such as photography and illustration, or animation and web design, around 50pc chose web design. Of these, however, only a small minority were female.
He asked his colleagues in the digital sector, to identify what was holding back this challenge to diversity, asking whether greater communication into the size and growth potential of the digital industry needed to be delivered to students and whether salaries and benefits needed to be reviewed to see why they weren’t appealing to women.
He explained that females were pursuing graphic design qualifications in large numbers, which meant that there must be a blocker that prevented similar numbers from selecting web design as their focus, rather than print design which is becoming less highly demanded.
Positive changes ahead?
Golpys did say that he had noticed early signs of positive changes in the last two years, with sector figureheads rolling out communication and engagement activity to help encourage more women into digital roles. He said that at MadeByShape, students and graduates of both sexes were invited to work with the designers on live briefs, to develop their skills and abilities on the job.
Graduates looking to work at a professional web development company in London, such as https://www.redsnapper.net, are able to apply for MadeByShape internships that boost their employability.
With the digital skills gap growing and with women still heavily underrepresented in the tech industry, there is a challenge ahead for digital businesses, policymakers and educators alike.