Milkround’s latest insight into imposter syndrome and how it is effecting female graduates

We recently delved into the minds of 5,700 students and graduates, to find out about young people’s career confidence and their perception of future employment.

Lower Salary Expectations

Our research identified that one in three (33%) women are worried about low pay and think they’ll earn under £20k in an entry level role, compared to less than a quarter (22%) of their male counterparts.

We also found that males expect to be earning more in five years’ time, with more females (25 percent compared to 15 percent males) expecting to be on £25-£30k and more males (23 percent compared to 17 percent females) expecting to be on over £35k, after five years.

Writer and activist, Natasha Devon MBE importantly contributed stating:

“Imposter syndrome is more than just ‘lacking confidence’. It’s an all-consuming belief that you aren’t worthy of your career achievements, that you’re a fraud and a fear of being ‘found out’, even if all the evidence shows you to be qualified and capable. Whilst feminism has come on in leaps and bounds over recent years, we still live in a culture where the prototype for success and influence is white, male and middle aged. It’s no wonder, then, that the people most likely to experience imposter syndrome are young women.”

 

Career Confidence

While confidence was the top choice for respondents, our findings revealed that far more females (41%) reported confidence to be a soft skill that they needed to work on most to excel in their career, compared with just 28% of males.

Competition from those with more work experience was another concern, with more females (58%) citing it as an issue, compared to males (47%).

Our Jobs Expert at Milkround, Georgina Brazier stated:

“Confidence issues are affecting graduates before they even hit the workforce, which often lasts with them throughout their career.

While more employers are implementing mentorship programmes to alleviate imposter syndrome and boost confidence among new starters, more needs to be done to ensure that this negative mindset is reversed, before they start working their way up the career ladder.”

 

How to Avoid Imposter Syndrome

Natasha Devon has put together some helpful tips to ensure that you avoid imposter syndrome and maintain confidence in young individuals.

Know Your Enemy

Having imposter syndrome can feel incredibly isolating, because by its very nature it is something which makes you feel as though you don’t belong. It’s important to remember it’s both common and, unfortunately, normal – particularly amongst women.

Think like your male counterparts

Studies show that men tend to believe they can do jobs for which they are underqualified whereas women are more likely to believe they aren’t right for a role, even if they are overqualified. Look at their qualifications and experience and measure them, objectively, against yours.

Combat negative self-talk

It’s essential to have a voice in your head advising caution, especially when running away from a bear. The negative voice we’ve evolved to carry around with us is more likely to tell us we aren’t worth a pay rise, can’t do that presentation or will make a fool of ourselves in a meeting. Recognise that voice and tell it to shut up.

Separate instinct from structurally created beliefs

Human beings learn through repetition and a lot of what our brain absorbs happens subconsciously. We still live in an environment which tells us the prototype for a powerful person is white, male and middle aged. Realise this is a belief system is not representative of you and is not something you would choose to believe of your own free will.

Stop trying to be liked

Women, on average, fear social rejection more than men. This isn’t an attitude which serves anyone well in the work place. However, we teach people how to treat us. Working for free, never using the word ‘no’ and letting other people take credit for your work might mean less confrontation, but it will leave you underpaid, undervalued and exhausted.

 

You can find more information in this year’s report. Download your copy here.

*All figures from Milkround’s Candidate Compass Report 2018

 

If you have any questions or would like to speak to us in more detail, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Number: 0333 0145 111
Email: sales@milkround.com

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 

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.