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Educate Magazine - 2021-05-01

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Being tech aware

16+

Misconceptions and a lack of awareness are preventing many young people from pursuing technology careers, according to new research. Despite rising levels of youth unemployment, the report by global emerging talent and reskill training provider, mthree, found that more than three-quarters (78%) of financial services, insurance, pharmaceuticals and life sciences businesses continued hiring for entry level and graduate tech roles throughout the pandemic in 2020. Even more promisingly, 92% confirmed that they are currently planning to recruit entry level and graduate tech talent in 2021 – 46% at the level they usually would, and 46% at a slightly reduced rate. This is in stark contrast to the wider jobs market; just 60% of private sector organisations recruited 16-24-year-olds in 2020, and only 43% are planning to do so in 2021, according to the CIPD. The report also found that there is a distinct lack of awareness of these job opportunities amongst many young people. There are also apparent concerns about the industry’s lack of diversity: 16% of female respondents said that they believe that the industry is too male dominated, and 12% think that they wouldn’t feel welcome in the industry. One in 10 (10%) of those from a mixed ethnic background, along with 1 in 10 (10%) of Black respondents, are worried that the industry is not ethnically diverse enough. While there has been a big diversity push in recent years, mthree’s research found that two-fifths (40%) of businesses currently struggle to recruit entry level tech employees from underrepresented groups. Consequently, diversity in the sector is still far too low: the latest figures show that only 15% of tech workers are from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and just 19% of the tech workforce is female, compared with 49% of the total UK workforce. Following the research, former Dragon’s Den star and successful tech entrepreneur, Piers Linney, has called for more young people to explore the different career paths offered by the industry, and encouraged businesses to widen their talent pool to improve their diversity and inclusion. Piers said: “It’s really clear from this research that not enough is being done to advertise the fantastic job opportunities available in the tech industry or to improve its reputation. “This is a real shame, particularly in the current circumstances, as it means that certain demographics will continue to benefit from these opportunities more than others, contributing to the inequality that’s so rife in the UK. “Tech’s diversity problem is welldocumented, so it’s understandable why lots of young people are worried that they won’t feel comfortable in the sector due to their gender, ethnicity or sexuality. “I would strongly urge young people to do their own research into the industry, even if they believe it’s not for them, as there is a good chance there’s a role they’re not aware of that could actually be a great fit, and kickstart a really fruitful career.”

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