The UK needs 1.8 million new engineers and technicians by 2025, according to the latest estimate from EngineeringUK and this means the need for more female recruits has never been greater. 


However, research by PwC has found only 23% of people working in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) jobs are female. Their Women in Tech: Time to Close the Gender Gap report also revealed only 27% of women would consider a career in technology compared to 62% of males, while only 3% said it was their first career choice. 


Just 9% of female graduates in 2018 studied a core STEM subject, according to education campaign WISE. Meantime the number of women employed in the digital workforce has been hovering at around only 17% for the past decade. So, what more can be done to address this gender imbalance? 


It’s widely recognised the first step should be to focus on education, driving increased uptake of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects among girls at school, college and university. 


Equally important, however, is finding new ways to attract more females into tech jobs. In practice, this means proactively sharing the immense variety and wide range of roles available – and showing exactly what they offer. This knowledge, it’s hoped, will inspire and enable more women to become tech recruits. 


One growth area in the UK is financial technology (FinTech), with the industry hitting a new high of £2.3 billion in funding in the first six months of 2019 alone. Data from Innovate Finance revealed investment was up 45 per cent compared to the same period the previous year. 


The upsurge in this specialist area of finance has led to high demand for software engineers and developers, with organisations ready to reward successful applicants. 

While many women may not have even considered a career in software, research led by North Carolina State University computer science department suggests women write better code than men. Its researchers analysed 1.4 million users of an open-source program-sharing service and found pull requests – or suggested code changes – made by women were more likely to be used. 


IT and computing science are challenging and demand a high level of problem-solving skills – not only in FinTech but in areas as diverse as healthcare, manufacturing, telecommunications and retail. However, this is also what makes these specialisms so satisfying.  


For developers, much of this job satisfaction comes from the mix of technical skills in writing code and the creativity in sharing it with the user. There are, however, many more reasons to consider software roles, including long-term job security and flexible working hours. 


While many positions in computer technology call for a degree or certification, learning and upskilling are often given on the job – so it pays to examine individual vacancies on x1jobs. 


Women who excel in IT and computing will not only be promoting gender equality in the tech sector but could also be helping the planet. Computer scientists are creating increasingly accurate climate modelling software, while developers who write more efficient code – with far fewer active cycles – help conserve energy. Such innovation protects the environment. 


The ethical side of tech roles is also integral to an initiative launched and backed by PwC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Morgan Stanley. The primary purpose of the Tech She Can Charter is to encourage businesses to collaborate and inspire more young women to pursue tech careers.   


Moving into the wider world of engineering, many employers note that beyond the necessary technical skills, women also bring heightened soft skills, especially in analysis, creativity and communication. To attract more women into their workforces, they’re taking proactive steps to encourage recruitment – whether through a sponsored academic path, graduate scheme, apprenticeship or offering immediate starts with on-the-job training.  


This should come as no surprise: when developing new products and services, teams with a more diverse range of gender, background and life experiences are more likely to be forward-thinking and generate fresh ideas. 


And did you know 80% of female engineers are either happy or extremely happy with their career choice, and 98% find their job rewarding, according to a survey by the Royal Academy of Engineering? 


UK companies are seeking female engineers not only to improve and maximise performance in current projects but to push the boundaries of what’s possible.  

Pioneering renewable energy projects require environmental engineers who can work effectively with those in the civil, mechanical and software sectors to make a zero-carbon future a reality. 


Britain’s high-flying aerospace sector, meanwhile, relies on many different aspects of professional engineering, which is why it boasts one of the most eclectic and versatile skillsets in the tech sector.  

Being tech-savvy is also an important part of sectors such as admin, HR and marketing – in this last sector going digital is key to selling through online channels, including social media, websites and mobile apps.  


Ultimately, more must be done across the UK if the tech industry is to tackle issues of gender inequality and much will depend on female applicants seeking out and experiencing the diverse range of roles available – including the latest tech jobs and cutting-edge careers on x1jobs.