- 61.1 percent of the German population would like to see more women in IT professions
- 87 percent think men and women are equally suited to IT professions
- eco promoting women in tech with its own German-based #LiT – Ladies in Tech initiative
The IT industry needs female reinforcement. This is the opinion of over 60 percent of German citizens, according to the results of a survey by eco – Association of the Internet Industry, conducted in cooperation with the market and opinion research institute Civey.* The survey was undertaken in the run-up to Girls’ Day, 22 April 2021, with 2,500 people from Germany participating in the survey at the beginning of April. Women and men were largely of one mind: 62.8 % women and 59.5 % men consider it desirable that more women take up professions in the IT and digital industry. Just about one in ten do not think it is desirable for more women to enter IT professions. 87 percent think that men and women are equally suited for a career in tech. 11.3 percent of men think their own gender is more suitable, with just 4.7 percent of women being of the same opinion.
“Girls and women constitute the greatest untapped potential of the IT and digital industry,” says eco Chair of the Board Oliver Süme. The innovative and crisis-proof IT industry is already experiencing a glaring shortage of skilled workers, which has serious consequences for the future viability of Germany as a digital location. The reasons behind this also stem from the lack of digital education and the deficit of professional trainee placements, Süme goes on to say. eco therefore endorses the concept of Girls’ Day as a means to counteract stereotypes in career choices early on and to get girls excited about STEM and technology. For example, the association is involved in the initiative MINT – Zukunft schaffen (STEM – Creating the Future) and is working in close cooperation with the German Informatics Society to ensure that informatics and digital technologies find their way into school curricula. Furthermore, eco itself is promoting the advancement of women in tech with the German-based #LiT – Ladies in Tech initiative.
Women just as suited as men to a tech career
Teachers and parents still strongly influence young girls’ career choices. “Daughters and schoolgirls should be encouraged to take up technical professions and make use of the great opportunities they offer,” urges Lucia Falkenberg, Chief People Officer at the eco Association. It is also important to counteract false inner beliefs such as “girls can’t handle maths”. After all, digitalisation is advancing in all areas of life, is a job engine even in the pandemic times, and offers lucrative career opportunities. There is a demand not only for skilled workers in classic IT fields such as development or programming, but also, for example, in digital marketing, data protection and controlling. Neither girls nor women should miss out on these diverse career prospects.
While the digital industry booms, few girls and young women are reaping the benefits
The demand for IT specialists has steadily increased on the vocational trainee market, which plays a particularly strong role in Germany’s work environment: Even in 2020, an increase of 8.4 per cent was recorded compared to the previous year. According to the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), the role of IT specialist is now ranked as one of the top 10 trainee placements by new graduates. However, while IT specialist application development is one of the most sought-after trainee careers among boys, no IT trainee placement makes it into the top 10 among girls.
In Germany, women are also underrepresented in STEM degree programmes. In the 2019/2020 winter semester, 237,530 students were enrolled in computer science in Germany. Only 21.8 per cent of them were female.1 As Falkenberg observes: “The clichéd IT boys’ club and the nerdy image of computer science hold little appeal for girls and young women”. eco’s 2020 German study on “Women in the Internet Industry” and its international study from the same year, Women in Tech Across the Globe: A Good Practice Guide for Companies, both also attest to the lack of female role models as a central obstacle within the industry. That is why it is so important to make successful women in the Internet industry visible. With the German-based “LiT – Ladies in Tech” initiative, founded in spring 2019, the association therefore networks women in tech and gives them visibility in order to inspire and encourage young female talents to discover this exciting industry for themselves.
* On behalf of eco, the opinion research institute Civey surveyed 2,501 people between 08.04. and 09.04.2021. The results are representative of the Federal Republic of Germany’s population aged 18 or over. The statistical error of the overall results is between 3.4 and 3.5 percent.
1 Source: Federal Statistics Office, https://www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Gesellschaft-Umwelt/Bildung-Forschung-Kultur/Hochschulen/Tabellen/studierende-mint-faechern.html, Status: 17.09.2020