We spoke with 3 successful women in tech about their experiences working as women in a changing industry

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we spoke with three successful women working in different areas of the tech industry. Amy is the founder of The Woolf Partnership, Anna works as an Enterprise Account Executive at Amazon Web Services, and Charlie is a Daemonite working as a Consultant Software Engineer. 

We discussed what the industry looks like for women today, the different challenges faced by women, and the importance of diversity in tech.


A changing industry and the effect on women in tech

What does the industry look like for women today?

The UK tech sector has experienced massive growth in the last decade. The industry adds around £150 billion to the UK economy each year and employs more than 1.7 million people. As the industry grows, there have been efforts to improve female representation in this traditionally male-dominated sector. Different initiatives over the years have provided more funding opportunities for women. But recent studies show that we still have a long way to go:

  • The UK tech sector has a gender pay gap of 26% - the highest in Europe. 
  • Only 29% of tech sector employees are women
  • Women make up only 21% of senior tech role holders

It’s not all bad news.  A report revealed that many organisations are starting to focus on reproductive health issues like fertility and menopause, as well as mental health issues. 

“The tech industry has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, and even more so in the past 3 years. The pandemic, rapidly evolving technology and economic instability have transformed tech and the world as a whole.”  Anna

The pandemic and remote working 

The COVID pandemic had a profound impact on the workplace, and women were disproportionately affected. A McKinsey study from 2020 found that while women made up 39% of the workforce, they accounted for 54% of job losses during the pandemic. This greater impact on women has been attributed to women taking on the burden of unpaid care. 

A silver lining from the pandemic was the widespread acceptance of remote working. This helped women trying to balance their family life and career. It opened up tech jobs in different regions so there were more options for women wanting to work in the industry. The tech sector has largely embraced remote and hybrid working. 47% of tech employees have remote working options.  Working from home has also helped cut costs in a turbulent economy. 


Supporting women back into tech

Women take career breaks for many reasons, including caring for children and elderly relatives, sickness, and recently the pandemic. In the UK, 70% of women in full time employment take around 6-18 months out of paid employment after having a baby. Whatever the reason for a career break, women often face discrimination when they return to work. The PWC Womens Returner Report found that 3 in 5 women go into lower skilled and lower paid jobs when they return to work. 48% of women said that ‘tech returners’ programmes were extremely beneficial in helping them back into the industry. 

“I had tried applying for roles via all the usual routes but I experienced a lot of barriers. There was a stigma attached to career breaks. Many people assumed all my skills were outdated and that I would be harder to train. I came across the Tech Returners programme while searching for returnships. I was impressed that they understood that tech returners had so much to offer, including a level of maturity and skills developed during career breaks.” Charlie 

Having a career break often undermines confidence, making it more difficult to return to work. At Daemon, we understand that during career breaks people develop many valuable, transferable skills. The Tech Returners programme is specifically designed to support returners back into the industry. 

“Daemon showed me that they understood the value that tech returners bring to the table by sponsoring my tech returners programme. They helped me with career coaching and rebuilding my confidence. I couldn’t have asked for a better company.” Charlie 


A flourishing industry bolstered by diversity 

pexels-kindel-media-7688460The tech industry continues to flourish as it embraces change. These changes are driven by consumers and what they expect from organisations. Consumers expect rapid product development, so companies need to be flexible and agile. 

“The space I work in with big enterprises was traditionally very slow-moving. The development of the internet and the cloud means change can happen incredibly fast. Smaller companies now have access to infrastructure that only large companies had previously. “ Anna 

The tech industry has become increasingly competitive, which helps drive more change. Companies need to connect with consumers and clients to remain competitive. As the customer base has grown substantially, it has also become more diverse. 

“Companies need to be able to react intuitively to their customers to satisfy their needs if they want to remain competitive in the market. To achieve this, you need to have a diverse technical team, a diverse board and a diverse organisation as a whole.” Anna 

A recent study showed that companies with greater gender diversity on their board are 27% more likely to have greater financial performance than less diverse companies. This is also true of ethnic diversity, with diverse boards performing 13% better than their less diverse counterparts. 


Looking to the future for women in tech 

So many inspiring women paved the way for the women in the industry to thrive today. They helped to break down gender barriers and stereotypical views of what women should do in the workplace and the wider world. 

“There were people along my journey who taught me the responsibility of lifting others with us on our journeys. I have a collection of women in my life who have helped me harness the power of qualities we have as women that aren’t traditionally recognised as leadership qualities. Things like authenticity, empathy and gentle kindness can help you trailblaze and break glass ceilings.”  Amy

The tech industry is much more friendly to women graduating today than it ever has been. There are still many challenges to overcome, but the next generation of women is empowered to push back against unfair treatment. Diversity in the workplace is no longer nice to have - it’s a need to have. Diversity of people encourages diversity of thought, and this is what customers and clients want to see in organisations. 

“There is a different cohort of people coming through the ranks now. I was speaking at a school recently and I was floored to see 68% of the year 12 girls wanted to pursue a career in STEM. They are already partaking in advanced coding and building apps in clubs at school. It’s amazing to see.” Amy


At Daemon, it is important to us that we make a positive impact by doing our part to make the tech industry and the wider world a better place. To hold ourselves accountable, we created our guiding North Star principles. One way we work on our impact on the world is by supporting women in tech and removing unconscious bias from our hiring process. We sponsor and hire from Tech Returners, recruit at the Women of Silicon Roundabout, and are proud supporters of the CodeFirstGirls institution. 

Find out more about what it’s like to work with us at Daemon.

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