"Early interaction with technology, more information about job opportunities and support from parents and role models are among the actions required to encourage more girls to consider tech as a career option," according to a statement from Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a tech industry nonprofit.
A CompTIA survey found that among middle school girls, 27% have considered a career in technology, but by high school this figure drops to 18%. Also, of girls who have not considered an IT career, 69% attribute it to not knowing what opportunities are available, and 53% say additional information about career options would encourage them to consider a job in IT.
- To try and make the technology industry more inclusive, CompTIA has also released Make Tech Her Story: What Needs to Change to Inspire Girls’ Pursuit of IT Careers, an e-book and companion website that serve as the centerpieces of a new awareness campaign for tech industry leaders, educators, parents and, most importantly, the girls themselves.
Industry observers have written report after report about the diversity issues plaguing the technology sector, both in terms of gender and race. For HR leaders in those industries, the CompTIA program should be a welcome effort; it may spur the critical changes necessary in the ways girls interact with and learn about technology.
While many employers slowly but surely are making progress, diversity programs just don't seem to be delivering the change required to bring the industry into balance with other industry sectors. These efforts have also been frustrated by an overall decline of open tech positions in the second half of 2016, raising the barrier of entry to those with less skills and experience.
CompTIA reports that more than 5.1 million people worked in core technology jobs in the U.S. at the end of 2015, but just 25% of those jobs were held by women - so there is much work to do. The hope here is that for young women and girls in colleges, high schools, middle schools and grade schools, the right education and guidance will begin to chip away at tech's diversity problem.