Booking.com partners with universities to support women in technology

Alongside the University of Oxford and Delft University of Technology, Booking.com has established a scholarship programme designed to encourage and support women in their technology careers. A mere 30% of 7 million who make up the digital sector are women. As a result, women remain underrepresented across all levels.

The Women in Technology Scholarships form a two-year initiative that also involves awards and mentoring schemes, and a partnership with the European Commission.

Gillian Tans, Chief Executive Officer of Booking.com said, “As a company powered by technology and digital innovation, Booking.com believes strongly in ensuring equal access and opportunity for all within the technology sector. Recognizing that female participation in technology is lower than it should be, we are committed to bolstering female tech talent, eliminating obstacles and challenges they face, and fostering diversity.”

As of 2018, 15 scholarships will become available; ten for one-year Master of Science (MSc) courses (within the Statistics, Mathematical Institute, and Computer Science departments) at the University of Oxford aimed at female students across the EU, and five for two-year MSc courses offered at The University of Delft, Netherlands, available to students across a range of partner universities.

Find out more about the initiative 

Students don’t feel clued up on STEM careers

A third of students feel underinformed about STEM careers, according to new research carried out by Atomik Research on behalf of Centrica. Nearly half of the 1,063 students between the ages of 14 and 18 could not name a female role model in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics.

Furthermore, nearly a third of male teachers (29%) believe that STEM careers are more suited to boys than girls, compared to 16% of female teachers. 23% of the teachers surveyed do not feel confident or do not know if job opportunities exist for girls going into STEM careers.

Alongside this,  research by L’Oréal found that on average, 55% of 16-18 year old students are not studying science. Of those, 40% said it was because they don’t think science would lead to a career they would want to do, and just under a third (29%) lack confidence in their science skills.

Combining these revelations highlights the continued existence of both a skills and gender gap within STEM subjects and careers. The next question is: what is the solution to and how can employers help?

L’Oréal has unveiled a new campaign that aims to encourage female role models to visit local schools and talk to primary-school aged children to help inspire the next generation of scientists. By informing young people about the vast array of opportunities that STEM careers could offer them, it is hoped more students, particularly females, can see their own potential in these industries.

Paul Gilliam, HR Director – UK & Ireland at L’Oréal, highlights how important education on science careers is, alongside supporting women already in STEM industries to ensure they are reaching their full potential and can be guiding lights for young girls.

“It is important that we proactively encourage women who are looking to enter into science professions and support those that are already there,” he says. “We believe fostering female scientists of the future starts much earlier in life, which is why, to mark the tenth anniversary of For Women in Science, we have linked with the Inspiring the Future programme, run by UK charity Education & Employers, to inspire the next generation of scientists by encouraging both boys and girls to take an interest in science at primary school age.

“Companies have a responsibility to give back to the community and we truly believe that by encouraging more scientists into schools and opening children’s eyes to the range of careers that science leads to, we can help make scientific jobs feel both exciting and attainable and ultimately achieve a better gender balance in science.”

Gender has been a hotly debated topic in recent months; but then it has always been. It must continue to be spoken about and acted upon to ensure equal gender representation and pay in all industries.

When it comes to STEM, employers within these industries can help to educate young people to open their eyes to the vast opportunities available to them. Engaging with young people throughout their school life may be a heavy time constraint, but this technique can be incorporated within your school leaver or graduate recruitment process.

School leavers, students and recent graduates care about social responsibility and equality. By showing them you too are invested in this in all levels of your company, from recruitment to the continued nurturing of employee talent, you will attract a diverse range of top youth talent.

For suggestions on how we could work alongside you to create bespoke campaigns that can advertise your job openings, or to raise awareness of opportunities in specific industries such as STEM through events or similar, please contact info@milkround.com.

Female graduates can’t see their future in the tech industry

A survey of over 1,000 university students conducted by KPMG and independent market research company High Fliers has uncovered discrepancies when it comes to the career confidence of male versus female graduates regarding careers in technology.

Despite being as equally competent as young men when assessed on digital skills including data manipulation and social media, a mere 37 percent of young women are confident they have the tech skills required by today’s employers, compared with 57 percent of young men.

Adding to the concern raised by these stats is the fact that 73% of females have not considered a graduate job in technology. It seems the existence of female technical talent does not align with career aspirations in this sector. This lack of self-confidence in female graduates has also been considered here at Milkround. Our research found that female graduates’ salary expectations are much lower than their male counterparts. KPMG’s survey suggests that there could be a correlation between undervaluing personal skills and low salary expectations.

Commenting on the findings Aidan Brennan, KPMG’s head of digital transformation said:

“The issue here isn’t around competency – far from it – but rather how businesses understand the underlying capability of an individual and how to unlock it. I think this research highlights the work that needs to be done to show the next generation that when it comes to a career in tech, gender isn’t part of the equation.

Competition for jobs is tough, and we know that female job seekers can be less likely to apply for a role than their male counterparts if they don’t feel they already possess every pre-requisite the job demands. Businesses committed to building a truly diverse workforce need to adapt their recruitment processes to reflect this, and ensure they don’t fall into the trap of listening only to those who shout about their capability loudest.”

Highlighting that many employers do not specify a degree course in their selection process is also important if young women are to be encouraged into the tech industry. By engaging with students from all degree backgrounds, employers can highlight that skills are transferable across industries traditionally considered widely different.

Graduate trainee, Mary Smith, who studied history and politics at university and recently joined KPMG’s tech consulting graduate programme agrees:

“If you look at the subject I studied at University, you might wonder how my background makes me a good fit for a tech career at a professional services firm. KPMG saw something in me that at the time I may not have seen in myself. Now I am in the role, it is clear that the skills that I already possessed are very much transferrable to the job I am doing. I would encourage more young women to not be deterred by jobs which include an element of tech, and to instead have the confidence and belief in your own capabilities to apply and succeed.”

Here at Milkround, we think raising awareness of these issues is not just vital, but absolutely essential. The best way of doing this in the most far-reaching way is by creating event initiatives that appeal directly to the youth market – such as KPMG’s ITs Her Future. Young women must be shown that a career in tech is not just a place where they could flourish in theory, but that they are actively welcomed onto this pathway and a successful career awaits them.

You’re invited: Opportunities for Women in STEM

Join us on the 18th April to find out the results from our latest research project with SMRS: Opportunities for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Our research, conducted with over 2,400 school leavers, students and graduates, delves into how candidates feel about their opportunities in the STEM industries. The research specifically focused on women and their perceptions of the sector. The results establish:

  • Gaps in school and employer influence
  • Key motivations for school leavers, students and graduates
  • Work related opportunities they received while studying
  • Barriers for those who chose not to pursue a STEM career

SMRS will also be talking through their employer branding research, compiled from a series of focus groups conducted with graduate employers in mind. The focus groups produced some fascinating insights on the best ways to engage female candidates in the STEM space.

The details
When?
18th April 2016
Where?
The News Building, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF
What time?
9.00am – 11.30am

Please RSVP to confirm your place at the event by 13th April 2016. To RSVP, email Elizabeth.hunt@milkround.com