WEDNESDAY 22 FEB 2017 4:24 PM


The gender gap in technology fields has been a response to a male-dominated industry, however research indicates that it is only getting worse. The north of England does not escape this widening gender divide, according to Manchester Digital’s recent digital skills audit released in February, and its report also reveals that businesses in the region are struggling to fill technical roles

Looking to the employment brands of these technology workplaces, it may come as no surprise that a lack of gender diversity is a prevalent issue. The gender gap in digital technology workplaces remains prominent in the north of England, with workforces now split 72:28, male to female, a perceptible decline from 2016. As the competition for talent intensifies in the region and vacancies are left unfilled, a stronger, and more strategic, employment brand may be necessary to recruit women into the tech workforce. Successfully positioning a brand as favourable to both genders is key for the future of the industry, however nurturing this perception for current, and prospective employees alike, is also challenging.

According to the results of the audit released at the annual Manchester Digital Skills festival, the gender gap is even more noticeable in technical positions, now sitting at 88:12, a jump from 70:30 in 2016. Half of 250 surveyed digital and technology companies reported that their tech teams are comprised entirely of males, highlighting the need to tackle low gender diversity in the technology industry.

The report also revealed that developer roles were the most challenging to fill for the fourth year in a row and 33% of the positions are outsourced, with creative and IT and infrastructure positions following close behind. Due to the skills shortage in the region, 51% of companies, compared to 44% in 2016, report they inflated salaries to above average wage in order to attract the necessary talent.

However, more positive news is on the horizon as the audit found that companies are adopting a more active approach to foster their own talent pipelines. Most companies (86%) hire graduates and 24% run their own recruiting schemes. The apprenticeship levy has also been met with enthusiasm as 80% of organisations report that it will be good for their business.

“The results of our annual skills audit once again reflect a thriving industry, but one that is seriously hampered by the ability to recruit at the necessary volume,” says Katie Gallagher, managing director at Manchester Digital. “The sector’s widening gender gap is a key concern for us, and something we will continue to address through our own initiatives and by working with relevant groups who champion minorities and diversity in the sector.”