UK companies doing little to address cloud skills gender gap

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When it comes to cloud skills, there’s a significant gender gap, and it’s particularly visible in the UK. This is according to a new report by Microsoft, entitled “Microsoft Cloud Skills Report: Closing the Cloud Skills Chasm.” According to it, the gender mix among technical IT staff is 20 percent female versus 80 percent male. In just a fifth of companies (21 percent) the gender mix was 40 percent or greater.

Microsoft says this gender imbalance is “concerning,” but perhaps even more concerning is the fact that very few companies are actually doing something about it. A third (35 percent) said they had no policies to address the issues (46 percent for companies with 250 to 999 staff). A quarter (23 percent) said they didn’t know of any actions put in place.

“This is worrying,” Microsoft claims, adding that there is plenty of evidence supporting the fact that having a gender diverse IT staff could boost revenue. “With substantial evidence suggesting the positive impact that a more diverse project team has on project costs, timelines and performance, it raises the question: is the gender imbalance causing UK businesses to miss out on the benefits of digital transformation?”

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The core of the problem seems to be women’s interest in STEM, which drops significantly when they reach their teen years. “The girls interviewed also said they would like to see more encouragement from women with professions in STEM areas. Perhaps the most important finding from the study is that there is a four-year window — between 11 and 15 — where we can get girls engaged and excited about careers in STEM, and foster a lifelong love of these subjects. More must be done to demonstrate to this group in particular that a career in technology and cloud services can be a creative, fulfilling and rewarding career to pursue,” Microsoft concludes.

This is the third article in the series on Microsoft’s new cloud skills report. You can find the first article on this link, and the second one here. More details about the report, as well as a download link can be found here.

Published under license from ITProPortal.com, a Future plc Publication. All rights reserved.

Photo Credit: Delpixel/Shutterstock

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