Parents see boys as more suited to tech roles

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Through the Women's Business Council we are putting together some careers guidance to reach students and parents specifically targeted at young women to encourage them (and support their parents) to ...


Read More Dawn Bonfield
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Gender bias was also found in parents’ views of what constitutes useful skills for their children

British parents think technology careers are better suited to boys than girls, according to research from Nominet, the organisation best known for running the UK's internet infrastructure.

The survey of 2,128 parents found that 21% would like their sons to become engineers, compared with just 10% who felt the same about their daughters. While 13% were happy for their sons to become technology entrepreneurs, only 6% wanted the same for their daughters. One parent in eight (13%) said they wanted their sons to be game developers, compared to just 5% who said the same about their daughters.

Gender bias was also found in parents’ views of useful skills; 22% thought IT coding skills were important for boys compared with 16% for girls. Similarly digital skills, such as those needed to manage a company’s social media accounts, were seen as useful by 14% of parents of sons but only 10% of parents of daughters.

When it came to technology in the home, boys were found to be much more likely to have unsupervised access to the internet, with 73% being given free rein compared to 65% of girls.

Eleanor Bradley, COO of Nominet, said the UK needs the skills of both men and women in the technology industry. “One of our key strengths in the UK is being able to offer young people, whether male or female, the best platform to prosper in their chosen careers – through choice, opportunity and a good education,” she said. “A major opportunity for economic growth in the years ahead will be in fostering our information technology capability for a strong digital economy, but to reach our full potential we need the skills of the entire talent pool.

“Parents have one of the greatest influences on their children’s future decisions, much more than they perhaps give themselves credit for, and I encourage everyone to help all young people – especially girls – to consider the possibilities the tech industry has to offer.”

Bradley told HR that employers need to consider how to build a more diverse talent pool for the future.

“Supporting initiatives and programmes that encourage a diverse future hiring pool in the sector could be to their [employers'] advantage," she said. "For example, we are founding partners of the Micro:bit Education Foundation, encouraging kids to code. We have also piloted a scheme called Propella where those school leavers who are digitally savvy, but have not had the support and guidance to help them into turning that skill to their advantage, have been matched with SMEs that need help with improving their online presence. The aim of this initiative is to spark interest and give young people more confidence in their skills.

“Similarly, HR teams can support work experience programmes or send ambassadors out to schools and universities to help further shift perception – it’s so important for young women to see that a career in technology is interesting, varied and open to everyone.”

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Through the Women's Business Council we are putting together some careers guidance to reach students and parents specifically targeted at young women to encourage them (and support their parents) to consider careers in STEM. Are you interested in learning more or being involved? Dawn


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