</Do young people still perceive there to be a lack of diversity in digital? Four reasons why we need the CTRL Your Future campaign>
In October 2019, the Institute of Coding (IoC) launched our new CTRL Your Future campaign. With CTRL Your Future, we want to empower a diverse group of people to achieve careers in digital via higher education.
But why do we think this campaign is needed?
New polling commissioned by the IoC in September 2019 revealed how many young people feel about the digital sector, the barriers they face, and what would empower them to get into the industry. Here we focus on 4 of the most interesting statistics from this survey of over 1,000 young people, and why these statistics show that the CTRL Your Future campaign is needed.
1. Young people see the industry as innovative and exciting…
When we asked our respondents what came to mind when they thought of the digital industry, 50% said they see technological innovation as a way of helping to improve people’s lives. Young people see the value in new technologies that can be used to tackle current and urgent issues like climate change. Through collaborations with social activism based organisations like the Stemettes, and workshops on how to combine digital and activism, we helping more young people see that that digital is a force that can be used for good.
2. …but overwhelmingly male-dominated, white and heterosexual.
It’s no surprise that 82% of respondents see the digital industry as a male-dominated sector but their guess that 21-30% of the digital workforce is made up of women overestimates the real number of just 17% . However, it’s not just the lack of gender diversity in the industry that young people see as a problem. 25% of respondents also believe that just 0-10% of the workforce is LGBTQ+, and that just 21-30% is made up of those from ethnic minority backgrounds. These common perceptions make it even more important for our CTRL Your Future campaign to show learners that there is a welcoming space for them in the digital industry.
3. Gender bias, a lack of role models and unequal opportunities are the barriers for women in digital
On top of their perceptions of the digital industry, our respondents agreed that barriers for women to enter the sector still exist. While the gender pay gap is often used as a symbol of persistent gender inequality in the workplace, our results show that young people see other issues relating to gender equality as even bigger barriers. 42% think that workplaces in the digital industry are biased against women, and 40% see the lack of women role models and mentors in digital as discouraging for women looking to join the industry. With a lack of opportunities for women compared to men being listed as the third most prevalent barrier, it’s clear that we need to help young people to be aware of the ways they can overcome these challenges – and even break them down.
4. Speeding past the barriers – how to encourage a more diverse group of learners into digital
Thanks to our polling and other research by our partners, we now know what the barriers are. But how do we make it easier for learners to speed past those barriers and join the digital industry, no matter who they are or where they come from? When we asked what would encourage respondents to study digital or consider a digital career, they gave answers that we know the IoC can help with. 38% said they wanted to be sure digital would help them get a job at the end of their course, and 25% said they would study digital if it related to their other passions like fashion or gaming.
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 HP, 2019. https://press.ext.hp.com/us/en/press-releases/2019/no-time-to-lose–retraining-could-bring-more-women-into-the-tech.html