Thousands of black women missing from IT industry, report says

The professional IT industry is short by more than 20,000 black women, according to a new report on representation in the sector.

Research by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and Coding Black Females, found that while black women make up 1.8% of the UK workforce, they make up just 0.7% of IT professionals. computers, i.e. a deficit of around 20,000.

A survey of black women in the industry as part of the study also found that 67% of respondents said they faced more barriers to entering the industry than others. and 21% said they believe current diversity and inclusion policies are having a negative effect on their ability to progress.

According to the study, black women see their progress being blocked by issues such as a lack of flexible work opportunities and career development support and a toxic “tech bro” culture within some organizations.

The research found that the percentage of all women in IT has only increased slightly in recent years – from 17% of the industry’s workforce in 2017 to 21% in 2021.

But the overall representation of ethnic minorities is actually higher among IT workers than in the overall workforce, the study noting that this was largely due to the high proportion of tech professionals of Indian origin.

Industry leaders have warned that technology that can serve everyone will only be possible if the industry building these systems is truly representative.

Charlene Hunter, Managing Director of Coding Black Females and BCS Board Member, said, “High-stakes areas like data science and cybersecurity desperately need many more technologists from diverse backgrounds, who all consider IT to be an ethical and ambitious field. career choice.

“While there are truly inclusive IT organizations out there, our research with BCS found that successful black women – and women in general – working in tech are often where they are despite the dominant culture and limited flexibility in their work options, and the lack of inclusive work Culture.

“The fact is that a diverse technology profession produces much better products and results, for example in teams working on AI.

“We need senior leaders to match the large numbers of black women who are now appearing in technology and engineering ads, with real opportunities to progress into rewarding jobs.”

Rashik Palmer, Managing Director of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, said: “We can only build systems that serve everyone if the diversity of humanity is represented in the project teams that design and build these systems. .

“The gender gap in IT is showing signs of narrowing, and groups such as BCS Women have worked for many years to move the dial.

“Black women’s coding inspires women of color in digital careers, but our joint report shows that the tech profession still has a lot of work to do to become truly inclusive, trustworthy and ready to solve the world’s biggest challenges. .”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *