New research by Experian has revealed that only one-fifth of women in higher education are currently considering a career in data.
The study, which surveyed 1,204 UK education consumers, found that most female students are turned away because they don’t think they have the right skillset, with almost half (48 per cent) suggesting they have ruled out the career because of a lack confidence in science or mathematics.
To raise awareness of the opportunities available to students of all backgrounds, Experian has partnered with The Data inspiration Group to support Digdata initiatives, a program of small virtual trials, live online career panels and classroom resources. Digdata is intended for all secondary and tertiary students, as well as for faculty and professional leaders.
Encouragingly, Experian’s research found that there is there is appetite among young female students to learn more about careers in data. More than two-fifths (46 per cent) of young women studying at further education levels (such as A-Levels) say the curriculum needs to be revamped so that students learn how data and maths can tackle some of society’s key challenges, such as climate crisis.
Many female university students also see the benefits of a data career. Among those who are definitely ready for a career in tech, 36 percent believe the job could pay more, while 30 percent say they were inspired by someone they know who works in the field.
However, educational institutions and companies clearly need to do more. Only 31 percent of college-educated women have seen information-related job postings on social media.
Rachel Duncan, HR Director at Experian UK&I, said:
“The world is changing rapidly, and data is at the heart of this transformation. Career paths across the spectrum, from fashion design to sports coaching, finance and marketing, now require an element of engineering knowledge. In the last five years alone, the demand for “data processing specialists” has tripled.
“Despite this trend, there are still barriers to overcome and government, education and business need to work together to develop key skills and raise awareness of how data-driven careers , can offer an excellent career path for young people, from all walks of life.
“The UK has the opportunity to become a world leader in data. By working on projects like Digdata, we hope to be able to build trust, improve skills and create greater diversity in our workforce, embracing the opportunities our digital economy presents and developing the next generation of talent.”
Rachel Keane, Founder and Chief Data Officer at Digdata, said:
“As part of the government’s plan to ‘boost’ UK employability, coupled with a national shortage of data professionals, the Data Inspiration Group and the Digdata program aim to help students upskill and develop their skills.
“As data teams increase their role and influence, the skills they’re looking for in future employees go beyond billing. Industry requires creative problem solvers, inquisitive thinkers and good communicators – skills that can be transferred from all subjects of the curriculum and are relevant to different industries.
“We want students from all backgrounds and academic abilities to know that a career in data is a choice available to them.”
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