Tech diversity champions Code First Girls have teamed up with Tech Talent Charter (TTC), a government-supported group of over 775 leading UK businesses and organisations, to identify and provide recommendations to address the UK’s tech talent shortage and diversity crisis.

The recommendations come as it is revealed that half of women in tech drop out by the age of 35, adding to worries of a growing digital skills and gender gap.

In their collaborative report, Code First Girls and TTC have drawn on data from the largest community of qualified female software engineers and employees of TTC businesses across the UK including Gymshark, the Scottish Government, GCHQ, Transport for London, and Shell.

According to Microsoft, globally, there will be 149 million new jobs in software, data, AI, machine learning and cyber by 2025.

Anna Brailsford, CEO of Code First Girls, said: “It is no secret that the tech industry has for too long been a boy’s club – but the dial is shifting and we want to accelerate that progress.

“With the UK continuing to suffer from a glaring skills gap, improving family leave and reproductive healthcare policies should be a first step to help retain women in this vital industry.

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“To get women into the industry – and crucially keep them there – we cannot ignore their needs. Through these recommendations, we hope that the industry can speed up their efforts to narrow the gender inequality gap and bring the tech industry into the 21st century.”

Lexie Papaspyrou, co-COO at Tech Talent Charter, said: “If we are to make a difference in the fight for better gender diversity in tech, we must go beyond ‘just hire more women’.

:Tech workers are looking for companies that understand their desires around career development, flexibility, work-life balance, family-forming, wellbeing and inclusion.

“We have a fantastic opportunity to grow the tech talent pipeline by tapping into new sources of talent and harnessing the skills already available, but businesses need to be informed on what this looks like in practice for their talent strategy.

“Our new report sets the bar for what it takes to attract, develop and retain women in tech, based on the efforts of hundreds of companies going through these challenges right now.”

Emma Stewart, CEO at Timewise said: “Trying to attract diverse talent without offering flexible working is like going fishing without a net.

“To ensure diverse and inclusive workplaces, employers need to offer flexible working from day one; consider all forms of flexible working (not just hybrid); and to make sure that their approach is fair to all workers”.

Code First Girls has already provided over 120,000 opportunities to women to learn to code and get into the tech industry.

By working with companies globally, Code First Girls is boosting employability, diversity and social mobility, and transforming local economies and communities.

Code First Girls is now the largest provider of free coding courses for women in the UK, having taught five times as many women to code as the entire UK university undergraduate system.

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Tech Talent Charter (TTC)  is an industry-led, government-funded membership network, committed to driving diversity and inclusion in tech and securing the future of the tech talent pipeline for all.