Research has revealed that London’s tech scene offers the greatest opportunities for British women in tech, with 40% of the entire country’s female tech workforce employed in the capital. But although London is leading the equality charge, there is much more work to be done.
One in 10 tech teams in London have no female employees and more than half of the 3700 professionals surveyed by recruiter Mortimer Spinks say that less than 15% of their teams are women. These findings echoed figures recently released by Tech London Advocates which found that 18% of London tech companies had no women at board level.
This comes despite a third of London tech companies saying they have formal initiatives in place to recruit more women to the workforce, compared to less than a quarter in the rest of the country.
Tackling inequality in the tech sector and calling for the sector to be open to all Londoners, London Mayor Sadiq Khan issued a call for action against the under-representation of women in the industry.
“London Technology Week has shown how the capital is the most important tech hub in Europe with its vibrant mix of investors, talent and creativity. Although the sector is flourishing, it is vital that we actively encourage more girls to work in digital and tech to reverse the under-representation of women in this industry.
“Our current female tech pioneers are the role models for the next generation and as the father of two teenage girls, I want them to have the same opportunities and aspirations. I am determined to work hand-in-hand with individuals and employers like these to nurture more young female entrepreneurs that will contribute to London’s economic prosperity.”
The London Mayor has already taken steps in the fight for increased female representation in tech, having helped lead a female-founders trade mission to Silicon Valley through the Mayor’s International Business Programme.
Although hailed by Jessica Butcher, co-founder and Director of Blippar, as a ‘fabulous experience’ which left those on the trade mission ‘committed to each other’s success and resolved to step up more publicly as role models to encourage more young women into the technology sector,” the fact remains that under-representation of women in tech is hurting business and that there needs to be many more trade missions, role models and initiatives to speed the upward trajectory of equality in the tech workplace.
Calling the representation of women at senior levels in tech ‘shameful’, Russ Shaw founder of Tech London Advocates appealed to the business case of having more women in tech, saying: “London Technology Week is an opportunity to celebrate the opportunities technology companies hold for all Londoners, cutting across age, gender and background. Simply put, failing to harness the creative potential of those currently under-represented in the industry makes bad business sense.”
Female founders are an important driver of growth for London and the UK’s economy – if we increase the number of women in tech then London, and the whole UK, can take figures like the 11% of women-led businesses which make up UK SMEs and make those number even bigger.