Research conducted by Booking.com reveals that 48% of women in the UK tech sector feel their company is not prioritising gender diversity,
with nearly 3 in 5 of those who have taken a career break feeling less valued for their work contributions
London, UK, – According to research from Booking.com, one of the world’s largest travel commerce companies and a digital technology leader, less than half (48%) of women currently working in tech in the UK feel that the tech industry today is prioritising gender diversity as part of its agenda. Slightly more British women currently in the field (52%) feel that their company is prioritising diversity efforts. While initiatives to close the gender gap and encourage more women into tech are having some success, tech companies and the industry need to demonstrate greater commitment to nurturing female talent – not only those considering or starting a tech career, but also established experts in the field – if they are to maintain a representative and skilled workforce.
For technology companies to attract much-needed talent, we’re seeing a shift in focus. In addition to retaining talent, businesses are bolstering their efforts to re-attract women who have left the sector and are looking to return. By retaining their knowledge and experience, tech companies stand to benefit not only culturally, but reputationally and financially too.
Women see opportunities to drive real business benefits and fuel positive, industry-wide change
The latest World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report1 found that there is a widening inequality gap worldwide. Yet, women are making strong contributions across all aspects of business. When asked about the benefits that increased gender diversity can bring to the tech industry, 89% of British women in tech – and those students interested in pursuing a tech career – said they would help diversify the sector, bringing fresh perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. They also cited greater flexibility in HR benefits (91%) and an improved work environment that would benefit all employees (90%). Beyond these cultural benefits, women increasingly feel their representation in the UK tech workforce will contribute to improved company and brand reputation (88%), as well as trust in tech companies in general (84%).
Industry data also shows a wider economic benefit. PricewaterhouseCoopers2 research recently found that increasing the number of working women by 5%, to 75%, could boost the UK economy by approximately 9% of gross domestic product (GDP).
“Driving greater gender diversity in tech is as much about unearthing untapped talent as it is about supporting women who have already built the skills, knowledge and expertise in our sector. Diversifying talent – with all aspects of experience, backgrounds and career paths – needs to be front of mind,” says Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com. “Over the last ten years there have been significant changes to drive positive progress towards making the tech industry a more gender diverse place to work. We need to make sure that we continue this momentum. Companies that prioritise inclusivity at every level and tap effectively into the existing talent pool as well as encouraging new talent will continue to grow and thrive.”
Tapping into the value that women returning to tech can bring
Currently, six in ten female re-entrants to tech in the UK – or those who have taken a break and returned to the industry (60%) – view taking a career break as detrimental to their individual progression. Almost two-thirds (65%) believe the industry needs to actively do more to support their re-entry to the field.
However, a rise in ‘returnships’, or re-entry schemes is raising hopes, not just in technology but also at law firms, professional services and other sectors. 64% of British women returning to tech believe that such programmes – often focused on training, re-skilling, upskilling and mentorships – are key to overcoming re-entry challenges. They want to feel empowered and build from their previous experience rather than feel like they are starting from the beginning. While two in five of those who have returned to the field consider regular upskilling opportunities to be essential to their success in tech (35%), they are far more likely to agree that ‘returnships’ provide them with the confidence to overcome re-entry issues (64%).
Encouragingly, these programmes are empowering women with the skills and support they need to progress. In fact, 60% of re-entrants in the UK say they had access to a mentor upon their return to work – something women in tech identified as essential to their career success. 66% also say their company helped them update their technical or other skills following a return.
“At Booking.com, we have long believed in investing in mentoring and recognition programmes that support the continued development of women in tech – such as our scholarships programme and the Booking.com Technology Playmaker Awards. What our research tells us is that the tech industry needs to work more closely together to align on strategies to encouraging women to pursue a career in tech. Women bring tremendous value that can positively impact both tech companies and the industry globally and should be part of proactive initiatives focused on inclusivity, retention and skills development,” concludes Tans.
1 – https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-gender-gap-report-2018
2 – https://www.pwc.co.uk/economic-services/WIWI/women-in-work-index-2018.pdf
Notes to the Editor:
Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among 6,898 respondents (from the UK, USA, France, Brazil, The Netherlands, Germany, China, Australia, India and Spain). 789 respondents were from the UK. All respondents completed an online survey from August 2nd to September 6th, 2018. Respondents include high school and undergraduate students entering the field, early career and experienced technology professionals and those returning to the sector.
Established in 1996 in Amsterdam, Booking.com B.V. has grown from a small Dutch start-up to one of the largest travel e-commerce companies in the world. Part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), Booking.com now employs more than 18,000 employees in 200+ offices in 70 countries worldwide.
With a mission to empower people to experience the world, Booking.com invests in digital technology that helps take the friction out of travel. At Booking.com, we connect travelers with the world’s largest selection of incredible places to stay, including everything from apartments, vacation homes, and family-run B&Bs to 5-star luxury resorts, tree houses and even igloos. The Booking.com website and mobile apps are available in 43 languages, offer over 28 million total reported listings, including more than 5.7 million listings of homes, apartments and other unique places to stay, and covers more than 147,000 destinations in 229 countries and territories worldwide.
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