The tech industry must talk directly to the women it needs to attract

Sinead Bunting, Co-Founder and Creator of the Tech Talent Charter on why the opportunity for diversity in tech lies within the industry.

Sinead Bunting

Creator & Co-Founder Tech Talent Charter


The tech industry will be pivotal to the UK’s recovery from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s already proving to be one of the most resilient with a rise of 36% in the number of tech vacancies in the UK between June and August 2020. This is hugely positive news for the industry but masks one very worrying statistic, that only around 16% of tech roles in the UK are held by women.

If the voices of women and minorities are not included in the development of the technology that plays such a fundamental part in our lives, those voices will get left behind and huge parts of our society will be at even more of a disadvantage. Additionally, without different lenses and approaches, ideas and innovations will be missed in the tech industry.

It’s something we at the Tech Talent Charter have been working to address since 2017 and we’ve seen almost 500 companies across the UK sign up to the Charter to voice their commitment to tackling inequality in tech roles across their businesses. But still the participation of women hovers at 16%-17%. What’s the missing link? 

Only by leading by example will other women from diverse backgrounds be inspired to take the leap into tech.

Sinead Bunting

The underrepresented gender

Representation becomes a self-perpetuating issue, with women who can’t imagine themselves in a tech role being less likely to consider one. Research from HP and the Fawcett Society suggested that 45% of women in other roles would be interested in retraining into a tech role but 32% did not believe they had the right qualifications.

So, it’s clear that to attract more women to tech roles, the industry itself needs to do more to showcase and highlight those women who have followed a tech career, who are doing it anyway. Only by leading by example will other women from diverse backgrounds be inspired to take the leap into tech.

Doing It Anyway

This autumn we have launched the #DoingItAnyway campaign which we hope will help to do just that. We’ve so far spent most of our time talking to businesses to persuade them of the importance of having women in tech roles, but we wanted to go further and speak directly to the women who are missing from the tech industry and try and connect the dots between their experiences and the potential opportunities that await them.

The catalyst for the campaign itself was when we heard about the ‘Women We See’ Mayor of London & TfL competition offering £500K of free OOH advertising. UCL research revealed women don’t see themselves represented in ads; it was all ‘Beach body ready’ images, not real everyday women. The thing is, all types of women can and do have careers in tech, we just need a lot more of them.

As we have done from the very start with the TTC, we set about gathering a group of partners together who could help us enter the competition. We managed to secure a pro bono creative team who helped us develop and submit our competition creative concept #DoingItAnyway. We unfortunately did not win and get our hands on that £500K of free OOH inventory - the very worthy Holland & Barrett campaign for the Menopause won, which salved the pain somewhat. However, what we did have is an amazing creative concept we could work to bring to life.

We wanted to feature real women in tech in our campaign so we contacted our signatories to ask if any of them had women working in tech roles in their organisations who had got there through non-traditional or unusual routes, who might be willing to share their stories. At the same time, we managed to convince a contact who had worked on the original creative concept to provide a photo shoot by the world-famous Rankin creative agency at a reduced rate.

We were overwhelmed to receive more than 300 responses to be part of the campaign. Sifting through this pile of inspirational and powerful personal accounts convinced us even more of the incredible benefits that women can bring to the tech industry and that these stories needed to be told. We slowly whittled down the stories to eight that we felt brought to life the incredible diversity of skill and strength out there. The result was a series of inspiring and powerful images from our photoshoot that accompanied inspiring and powerful stories of eight women in tech.

[Tech companies] need to proactively and directly connect with the women they want to reach and show them that there is a place for them.

Sinead Bunting

Inspiring true stories

Among these inspiring women are Molly, the deafblind UX Consultant who is passionate about making tech accessible, Magdelene, who trained for her data science and AI qualifications in between night feeds with her baby, Sifaya, a Sri Lankan immigrant to the UK who is now a lead technical architect at the Home Office, and Patience, who transitioned from ten years with the Royal Navy to writing automation scripts for Sky.

With the support of our sponsors HP and Institute of Coding and importantly the design time and skills of the in-house design team at PwC, we brought the Doing It Anyway campaign to life to speak directly to the women that the tech industry needs and show that there’s more than one route into a tech career. The campaign encourages women to visit the #DoingItAnyway online hub where we house a large database of courses, opportunities and vacancies from across our signatories and the wider industry, connecting women and opportunities across the UK.

We’ve seen huge success with the campaign already and we hope many women will be inspired by these amazing stories to consider a career in tech. It’s not enough for tech companies to create diversity policies; they need to proactively and directly connect with the women they want to reach and show them that there is a place for them, that they are welcome, that the tech industry needs women like them. Women like us.

Guest Author

Sinead Bunting

Creator & Co-Founder Tech Talent Charter


Sinead is the Creator and Co-Founder of the Tech Talent Charter, an industry-wide collective, whose aim is to deliver a more diverse tech workforce. She specialises in digital performance marketing, creative brand transformation and most recently in subscriptions marketing. In the last 20 years Sinead spent the first half of her career agency-side most notably at WPP’s MediaCom, then went client side to have roles as VP Marketing Europe at Monster, the global jobs website, Planning & Ops Director at The Telegraph and was recently appointed Marketing Director at The Athletic UK, the subscription-based sports website. Passionate about encouraging diversity and success in business, she also created the Monster Confidence programme, working with social enterprise Stemettes for four years, helping students across the UK & Ireland gain greater confidence to achieve their huge potential in a STEM career.

Related Tags

technology Diversity

Agencies Featured