Female teachers, accountants, retail and healthcare professionals are those most likely to ‘career switch’ to a job in coding.

A report published by coding education and employment provider Code First Girls also found that many people who studied humanities subjects at university are making the move.

The survey of more than 1,200 women across the UK found that switching to a career in tech after working in another profession is most common amongst women working in teaching (12.23%), accountancy (10.74%), retail (7.44%) and healthcare (6.5%).

The research also finds women who switch to jobs in coding in their late 20s and early 30s were most likely to have studied humanities subjects like English Literature and History at university, with 1 in 5 having done so. 

The majority of these ‘career switchers’ are aged 25-34, with almost a quarter aged 35-55, and they are most interested in roles in data analysis, closely followed by full-stack development and front-end development. 

The trend towards tech is supported by new analysis of the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics. In 2021, the number of women working as programmers and software developers in the UK increased by almost 15,000 on the year before, and the number of women working as web designers increased by almost 10,000. 

At the same time, more than 152,500 women left teaching, and 100,000 women left the nursing profession. Since the pandemic, Code First Girls has seen a 124% rise in career switchers joining their community of learners. The tech industry, however, is facing a major skills gap and as things stand there will be only 1 qualified woman for every 115 tech roles by 2025.

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When asked about the appeal of working in technology, career switchers are more likely to be looking for career progression and flexible working than their younger counterparts. 

And when Code First Girls asked career switchers why they left their previous roles, almost two thirds (60%) said it was because there was no clear pathway or progression, and more than half said unfair pay or lack of salary progression. Four in 10 said they had experienced burnout, caused by unreasonable time pressure, lack of work-life balance, and an unmanageable workload.

“There is a glaring gender and skills gap in the tech sector, and leaders need to find new talent pipelines to bolster and secure the UK’s technology workforce for the future,” said Anna Brailsford, CEO of Code First Girls.

“With three in four of women switching into tech being between the ages of 25 and 34, it’s clear that there is a whole pool of untapped talent amongst those who started out in different fields of study and in different careers.

“These are candidates who may have never considered a STEM career before, convinced it was a career just for men, or that they didn’t have the right skills. But they come with a wealth of experience to change things in technology for the better. And these women need to be given the chance to change their minds.”

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