A free webinar series has been developed by Skills Development Scotland and Equate Scotland in partnership with the Digital Technologies Skills Group in response to new research that found women account for only 18 per cent of people working in tech in Scotland. To meet skills demands and remain globally competitive, Scotland must increase the diversity of the sector and support the ambitions of girls and women.
Running on 18, 24 and 27 April 2017, the interactive webinars are suitable for all digital technologies employers, from startups and SMEs to large organisations. They will guide employers through: how to take positive action measures; how to recruit and retain women employees; the business and economic case for increasing women’s representation in tech; implementing flexible working; overcoming challenges and barriers; and tackling biased language.
A Best Practice Guide is also available, featuring case studies from employers taking action on improving the gender balance in tech roles across Scotland. Edinburgh headquartered FreeAgent is one of the companies that has contributed to the new resources.
Olly Headey, FreeAgent co-founder and CTO, says: “As employers it’s important that we are aware of how we position ourselves in the market to ensure we are being as inclusive as possible. This means understanding the laws on discrimination, paying attention to the wording on our job adverts, being aware of the impact of cognitive biases during interviews and ensuring we create an inclusive workplace culture.”
He continues: “The more focus companies put on improving diversity in their workplace, and the more we talk about it openly within our industry, the better our chances of success will be.“
Evelyn Walker, chair of the Digital Technologies Skills Group’s Gender Work Stream, says: “Sharing real world projects, tactics, tools and success stories will help more individuals and organisations to get involved in tackling the gender gap. Research indicates that there are a lot of females who are open to the idea of working in tech. To turn that willingness into a real increase in the number of women in our sector we need to reach, support and inspire them to take the next steps.”
This initiative is part of the Digital Technologies Skills Group’s action plan to increase female participation in digital technology throughout the pipeline. In March, more than 150 representatives from industry, education and public sector came together in Glasgow for Tackling the Technology Gender Gap Together 2017. Organisations sharing best practice with the audience included Compute Application Software Ltd, FanDuel, J.P. Morgan, and FDM Group.
The webinars and best practice guides are funded by the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership whose partners include Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Island Enterprise, Scottish Funding Council, Education Scotland, ScotlandIS and digital technology sector industry representatives.
Webinar 1 (18 April) 12.30 – 14.30: The business case for gender equality, how to create an attractive workplace culture (e.g. through implementing flexible working and equality training). This session will include a live Q&A with a successful tech employer leading on gender equality work.
Webinar 2 (24 April) 12.30 – 14.30: How to attract more female applicants, taking appropriate positive action measures and case studies. This session will include a live Q&A with an employment solicitor who has an expertise in positive action.
Webinar 3 (27 April) 12.30 – 14.30: How to support women in work and improve retention. This session will consider next steps and support the development of organisational plans.
Register for the webinar series here
About Tackling the Technology Gender Gap Together
The Employment Research Institute at Edinburgh Napier University completed the research on behalf of the Digital Technologies Skills Group and its partners.
The research involved desk-based research to get an up-to-date picture of the numbers of females moving through the digital technology pipeline, and surveys and qualitative research with school pupils, students, educators, people working in tech and employers to uncover attitudes towards computing science and understand the barriers and potential solutions.
Read the full report here