Students held back from a career in tech

Almost half of the British public believes a lack of IT and tech education throughout primary and secondary school has been a barrier to a potential career in tech, new research from technology firm BAE Systems’ Digital Intelligence has revealed.

The study, Driving Digital Diversity, surveyed more than 2,000 people across the UK working inside and outside of tech and cyber security to explore the perceived barriers that may be putting people off from a career in the field. 

The report highlighted five key areas which respondents believe are putting students off pursuing jobs in the sector. 

The biggest area to be highlighted was that students assumed they need a tech or IT orientated degree, followed by a lack of tech or IT education at primary and secondary school. 

The problem of tech not being highlighted as an attractive career path at school, the financial cost, and a lack of understanding about the opportunities were also signposted in the report.

Theresa Palmer, global head of DE&I at BAE Systems’ Digital Intelligence, said: “It’s clear that respondents’ formative years play a pivotal role in shaping their ideas about tech careers. There’s a misconception that an IT orientated degree is necessary to enter the industry, despite many tech roles not requiring a degree level qualification.

“This begins at school, where more action needs to be taken to promote careers in the field as attractive options that are open to everybody. The industry itself has a big part to play here, through better showcasing alternative routes into tech and placing a greater focus on transferable skill sets and people skills in job applications.”

According to the research, a stronger emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) could go some way to encouraging more people into tech careers and help to plug the current industry skills gap, which is estimated to cost the digital economy £63 billion annually.

Three-quarters of respondents said the IT industry could do more to encourage job applicants from different backgrounds – rising to 83 per cent of respondents who work in tech and 90% of cyber security professionals polled.

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