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Call for more women in tech

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JUST 15 per cent of technology jobs in Jersey are filled by women – ten per cent fewer than in the UK and other developed nations, according to the latest figures.

Now, a senior consultant working in the industry has called for steps to be taken to address that trend, as she says women can bring a number of benefits to the sector and could even be the answer to plugging the Island's digital skills gap.

Anna Milon, a senior consultant at IT consultants C5 Alliance, says in a blog post on the subject: 'It is my belief that the tech industry, which is based upon innovation and forward thinking, should also work towards innovative and forward-thinking values that promote diversity and equal opportunities.

'There are clear benefits to encouraging more women to consider digital roles, beyond improving diversity in our industry; women could even be the answer to our digital skills gap.'

She added: 'We must encourage girls from an early age. Many believe the true reason why most women do not consider IT a viable career path is because of a culturally ingrained stereotype that IT is a "boys only club" – which in 2017 should not be the case.

'Society does appear to be addressing these stereotypes, and now even Barbie is a game developer.

'However, I think that to spark young girls' imaginations early on, we must show them how technology can tie in to their passions and hobbies.

'Whether they're into fashion, animals, cars or cooking, kids coding tools like Tynker can show the limitlessness and simplicity of app development, creating a fun approach for engaging with younger girls.'

Mrs Milon, whose own company has a number of women in director roles, said that you do not always need developed tech skills to get a foot in the door and that there were various jobs available in the sector that were not about the technical side, including project management and support.

She also said that more needed to be done to highlight women working in senior tech roles around the world, including the likes of Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki, HP chief executive Meg Whitman and Apple senior vice-president Angela Ahrendts.

The group Women in Tech meets every month and offers digital career advice and Mrs Milon is happy to offer advice to any women interested in a career in technology. To contact her, email anna.milon@c5alliance.com.

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