Half of girls are unenthusiastic about a career in STEM and technology

New research suggests that whilst young women are increasingly aware of the availability of careers in technology, half hold a belief that they are ‘unexciting’ and more than two-thirds think that roles in tech are predominately linked to gaming and IT consultancy; according to research commissioned by Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) as part of their work to support digital education.

Outside of these sectors young women associate technology careers with engineering, architecture, telecommunications and even finance; with more creative industries such as retail, luxury, travel, fashion and beauty all coming bottom of the list in terms of their relationship with technology roles. Conversely, the majority of young men believe tech careers to be ‘exciting’ and have a more open approach towards STEM or ICT related subjects.

The new research, which surveyed 1,000 young people aged 11 to 16 years old and 1,000 parents, is part of YNAP’s ongoing work to support young women to further their digital education. The news follows a series of events powered by YNAP to encourage young people – especially young women – to consider careers in technology including a hackathon hosted at the company’s West London Tech Hub where dozens of school children used coding to explore what tech careers could look like through a fashion lens, as part of its Imperial CodeLab initiative.

Young people aged 11 to 16 in the UK who took part in the study also said that their career choices and inspiration are influenced by their parents first, followed by teachers, the internet, friends and then TV shows and social media.

“Girls decide very young that going into computing is not for them. Through Imperial CodeLab and our partnership with YNAP, we hope to break down barriers and excite girls about careers in tech. By providing them with positive role models and equipping them with skills in problem-solving, creativity and computational thinking, we hope to inspire a diverse next generation of tech innovators”, said Susan Eisenbach, Professor of Computing, Imperial College London.