From US to Croydon: The highs and lows of women in tech

By - Tuesday 19th May, 2015

Ahead of Thursday’s ‘women in tech’ event, #Croydon #TechCity leader Jonny Rose assesses the gender balance in his favourite industry

I recently stumbled across some interesting research by the Silicon Valley Bank which found that more women are put in positions of leadership at technology companies in the UK than in the US.

As part of their annual Innovation Economy Outlook survey, Silicon Valley Bank asked 1,200 tech executives at innovation hubs around the world about the representation of women in their companies. In particular, they looked at the proportion of women in board-level positions and also executive or c-level positions. Overall, only 46 percent of the companies surveyed had any women at either of these levels. For those that did, they had an average of 26 percent women filling board-level roles and 37 percent filling c-level roles.

Corporates are better than startups at hiring women

By comparing sectors in technology, the report also found that healthcare leads the way when it comes to hiring women for high level roles, with 56 percent of health tech companies having at least one woman in an executive or board-level position.

Another significant finding the report unearthed was the fact that startups are considerably less likely to hire women for leadership roles compared to larger companies. An interesting cultural issue that will be faced by many Croydon Tech City startups as they start to mature into proper companies (‘scale ups’).

Making a change in Croydon Tech City

I’ve written before on the merits of diversity in the workplace. When you think about what makes any business successful, it involves having different perspectives and diverse opinions. Putting more women in leadership roles naturally brings this diversity to the table.

We need to make sure that Croydon Tech City companies are recognising talent within organisations early on and then growing and mentoring that talent, regardless of gender.

To make a change more women need to be introduced to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM subjects) at a young age. Croydon Tech City co-founder Nigel Dias has written extensively on how we’re attacking this problem through our Future Tech City programme, and fellow co-founder Sarah Luxford has written several helpful articles filled with actionable points on how to get more women into tech.

Fortunately, we are making good progress: a rough count at our events in the early days revealed that only one in eight attendees was a woman. Our last survey showed a significant (and encouraging!) improvement: women active in the Croydon tech community is up to over a third.

However, I am acutely aware that we still don’t have enough women in the Croydon Tech City community. If Croydon Tech City is to be a community that radically shapes the borough socially, economically and culturally, then it needs to be a place which is accommodating and welcoming to women, whether they are interested in technology or not.

Women in Tech: Thursday 21st May 7:30pm at Matthews Yard

Thursday’s Women in Tech speakers.
Clockwise from top left, photos by: Jana Hlistova, Nicole Anderson, Shivvy Jervis, Elizabeth Kanter, Mary Boholst, Suki Fuller; all used with permission.

With the speed of the technology revolution, businesses will need the collective intelligence that a diverse workforce brings. Join us for our May Women in Tech celebration where we will be hearing top tips for success and learning from our speakers and panellists.

For more details and to attend the Women in Tech event at Matthews Yard on Thursday 21st May at 7:30pm, please register here. All welcome – not just women!

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He owns a lead generation company. He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training and a Linkedin lead generation service. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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