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Research: Girls half as likely to pursue tech career than boys

April 23, 2024

BT Group research of 11 to 17-year-olds in the UK shows nearly double the number of boys described themselves as ‘very well suited’ to a career in tech compared to girls (25 per cent vs 13 per cent).

Girls were twice as likely to say they were ‘not very well suited’ to the industry (14 per cent vs 26 per cent) and half as likely as boys to desire a career in tech (30 per cent vs 15 per cent). Girls were also far less likely to believe there is nothing holding them back from a tech career (36 per cent boys vs 23 per cent girls).

When presented with a list of career options, the majority of children who took part in the study chose stereotypically gendered jobs. Girls gravitated towards nursing and fashion careers, while boys tended to pick video game design, software engineering and sports-related careers.

The research confirmed that these stereotypes are being reinforced at home and, more importantly, school. Just two thirds of 11-17 year old girls said they had been encouraged to work in a tech career by their families and teachers, compared to more than three quarters of the boys who took part in BT Group’s study.

The study also found that over half (51 per cent) of girls think tech careers are advertised more to boys and nearly eight in 10 (78 per cent) said there are not enough female role models in the tech industry.

Victoria Johnson, Social Impact Director at BT Group, said: “In this research and in the workshops we run in schools across the country, the trend is clear – when compared to boys, many girls feel like tech careers are not for them. This isn’t to say they are uninterested, or even that they are less confident with tech. To a lot of girls, careers in tech feel exclusive to men. Our research reveals there is still a lot of work to be done in supporting girls to thrive in the world of tech. It is critical we get this right now, rather than having to try and undo the problems it may cause in the future. Initiatives like our ‘Work Ready’ events are crucial to changing perceptions among young girls, providing them with the necessary insight and support to instil in them a confidence to chart their path into the world of work, unrestricted by outdated gender norms.”

It comes as BT Group delivers its Work Ready programme in schools across the UK to prepare students for the world of work, connecting their STEM curriculum learning with skills that are in demand by employers. The programme aims to bridge the digital gaps for young people including girls and people with disabilities.

Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Research

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