There are 2.1 million tech workers in the UK but only 14% are female. Hotwire’s Adele Breen asks why?

Whilst PR doesn’t lack female representation in general, some of the sectors within which we operate could certainly do with a shake-up.

The technology space, within which many of our clients operate, notoriously lacks diversity. The gender imbalance in this sector is nothing short of shocking. There’s an estimated 2.1 million tech workers in the UK, but only 14% are female.

Coupled with that, research from PwC has shown that only 3% of girls who study a STEM subject at school go onto consider a career in tech. We think we know why – there is a distinct lack of female role models out there on the tech scene. Only 22% of students surveyed by PwC could name a ‘famous female’ working in technology. Two thirds could name a man.

Additionally, there is the notorious ‘skills gap’ – there simply isn’t enough supply of talent to fulfil the demand for technical expertise. Businesses we work with, and their own customers, regularly cite this as a major issue. The shortage of STEM skills in the workforce is also one of our key economic problems according to groups like the Public Accounts Committee.

The answer to the skills gap issue is far from simple, but surely widening the groups of people your roles and brand appeals to is one obvious way forward.

So we’re taking action. As communications experts we’re in a position to be able to effect change. Every day we’re putting spokespeople forward to speak to media, contribute to published articles, present keynotes and participate in panels. We’re committed to driving a better representation of females talking on technical topics by working with our clients to pitch women for more opportunities, giving more women in technology a public voice.

To do that, we need a bigger pool of available spokespeople. We offer Hotwire clients in the UK free media training for women. The trajectory to becoming an industry role model often starts with media training, after which spokespeople are provided an increased volume of opportunities to have their voices heard.

Written by Adele Breen, director of corporate strategy services at PR firm Hotwire

Find out more about Hotwire’s commitment to diversity here.