In the UK, female tech workers have been disproportionately affected by the recent wave of layoffs across the sector.
Analysis by Integro Accounting has found that the percentage of women employed in technology in the UK sector has fallen for the first time since 2018, highlighting concerns about diversity in the sector.
The company found that women will make up approximately 20.1% of the industry’s total workforce in 2022, down from 22.7% the previous year.
During this period, the total number of female technology employees also decreased in absolute terms, from 384,025 to 359,154, a decline of 6.5%.
Conversely, the number of male employees in the sector increased by 8.6% over the same period, from 1,306,833 to 1,419,590.
Integro’s statistics align with previous research on the issue of layoffs and women’s representation in the tech industry.
Earlier this year, analysis by Layoffs.fyi found that in Europe, women accounted for 41.6% of job losses, despite making up just over a third of the workforce. of work.
A similar analysis of the U.S. labor market also reveals disproportionate levels of layoffs for female workers. Between October 2022 and June 2023, female tech workers accounted for almost half (45%) of layoffs across the sector.
What’s Driving Women’s Layoffs in Tech?
Christian Hickmott, managing director of Integro Accounting, said the disproportionate volume of redundancies could exacerbate long-standing issues regarding diversity and lack of female representation.
“The UK technology sector has made great strides in increasing female representation in recent years. It is therefore disappointing to see much of this progress reversed during the recent round of reforms. tech layoffs.”
Hickmott noted that, traditionally, female workers tend to be “more heavily concentrated” in part-time or non-technical positions that are “often the first to go during economic downturns.”
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However, Donne Burrows, chief operating officer at Engine B, said ITPro that, in her experience, women generally do not occupy positions more vulnerable to reductions.
The problem lies in the seniority of positions, she explained, with many female tech workers in more junior positions than their male colleagues.
Junior positions are usually among the first to be subject to reductions during economic downturns. With a higher proportion of male employees in management positions, this may have a wider negative effect on female workers.
“Based on my experience in recruiting and managing people and operations, I don’t believe that female tech workers are necessarily in positions that are more vulnerable to job cuts,” she said. “However, as businesses seek to create cost savingsthey can take on more junior roles because these can be consolidated or automated.
“Often these positions will employ a mix of men and women, but the most senior positions will tend to be held by men, giving the impression that women are likely to be more affected.”
Burrows said another key reason for the disproportionate losses could be due to changing working patterns as a result of the pandemic. As many organizations look to return to the office, this could have a greater impact on women in the workforce.
“Some of the losses could be due to changing ways of working and more businesses returning to pre-pandemic work – that is, more time spent in offices – and this could have a negative impact on female workers who have other commitments that remote work supports”.