New Zealand needs more research on why younger generations of women are not considering a career in Tech and why we see a high dropout of women dropout of the workforce, a NZTech leader says.
Eva Sherwood, an Oracle account executive and NZTech board member, says greater collaborative efforts need to be made to increase the number of women in the workforce and research will help in this regard.
“We need better education on the variety of roles within the tech industry that women can go into; it’s not just computer science or engineering skills we are short of.
“We need to break down the perception that people need to be an engineer or coder to be part of the tech industry. We can also see potential improvements to existing NZTech programmes such as Shadowtech by aiming for a younger audience.”
NZTech is helping organise Shadow Tech Days all over New Zealand from May 31 through to June 22. The idea is to help companies give schoolgirls a peek at the life they could create if they take on a career in tech. Events will take place in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
Sherwood chaired a top-level meeting in Wellington this week to discuss Diversity and Inclusion issues. Among those attending were NZTech major corporate member representatives from Spark, Datacom, Microsoft, Google, HP and Oracle.
The group discussed the importance of digital skills within education curriculum. “We actually need to hook girls into tech from five to eight years old and keep them engaged throughout their school journey.”
Although New Zealand needs more women studying STEM subjects at university, we also need to explore how more young people can enter the tech industry without a three-year degree, Sherwood says.
“We would like to see not just graduate programmes but a variety of post-secondary school programmes such as apprenticeships, cadetships and internships.
“In addition, we need to support people who will either lose their job or have to take on new jobs in the new technology world of automation. We need to upskill them in tech.
Sherwood says the New Zealand women in tech group will continue to explore ways to encourage more women into tech.
Current international research show that just three percent of 15-year-old New Zealand schoolgirls consider a career in tech, while women make up only 23 percent of those employed in tech-related occupations.
With more than 28,000 companies employing around 100,000 people, the tech sector is the fastest growing and the third biggest industry in New Zealand.