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Young people still put off careers in tech 

by jcp
gawdo

Young people looking at digital career options still face barriers 

While tech vacancies make up the highest proportion of all vacancies in the UK, post-pandemic,  research identified by cloud talent firm Revolent ahead of National Careers Week, shows that young people are still put off joining the industry. 

National Careers Week runs from 7th to the 12th of March 2022 and aims to promote the importance of good career guidance in schools and colleges. With a growing skills gap, the tech sector is in need of new talent, and helping young people understand the opportunities available to them through a career in tech could be a key part of solving this problem.

The mismatch between skill demand and offering

Research by the Learning and Work Institute shows that 88% of young people think digital skills will be important for their future careers, with 62% saying they have basic skills digital skills, but only 18% saying they felt confident with advanced skills such as coding and using more specialist software, which employers might need.

“With so many young people now naturally picking up most basic digital skills needed to land a job, one trend often identified on the market is a lack of specialist skills in candidates looking to enter the tech industry.

“People often have their eye on a tech role but can be put off due to a lack of confidence in with specialist skills such as coding using specific software. As an ever-evolving field, technology will continue to maintain demand for such skills, so we need candidates who are confident in their ability to develop those skills” said Nabila Salem, President at Revolent Group.

Genevieve Leveille, CEO at, blockchain solutions company, AgriLedger believes that the greatest challenge is the lack of curriculum addressing either pure coding, or at least analytical thinking approaches.

“We need to make technology a basic language if we are to be able to meet this rising demand for tech specialists. That is not to say that everyone needs to be a coder, it’s more similar to how we can all speak English but not all of us are skilled writers. Young people can take learnings beyond pure code and have a language that they can utilize to be able to meet the demands of their organizations and achieve a greater level of success,” she added.

On how to achieve this, CIO at Mercator IT Solutions, Sarah Bannett thinks that companies can help by getting into universities and schools and running sessions which show what is available within the world of technology.

Uncomfortable Company Culture

With almost a third of employees leaving their jobs due to toxic company culture, there’s a genuine need for appropriate support networks for people of all backgrounds and life experiences to continue to encourage the innovation and energy that youth can bring.

“Too often we focus on company culture as something that gives a company its identity, but the truth is it’s the people that make a company what it is, not policies,” said Salem. “Having a pre-decided culture and hiring people to fit into that doesn’t just put people off joining, but it gives you a narrower perspective and results.”

Bennett believes that this is all down to business. “Creating an environment where staff share, help and generally seek to uplift others creates a happier culture.  This has cultivated an environment where no matter your background, culture, skills or experience –everyone is treated the same,” she continued.

Tech’s reputation for poor work-life balance

While The Swipe Right’s report also suggests tech’s reputation for long hours is off-putting. This is especially pertinent when you consider how 57% of young people said they were looking for a better work-life balance in their career of choice. As it means the opportunity is there for businesses to react with the support needed to attract professionals into the industry—and Salem believes the pandemic has the potential to have a transformational change to the way digital careers are perceived outside of the industry.

“There’s been a huge shift and we saw the true value of tech experts, as the world moved online,” she added. “Putting support mechanisms in place that prioritise wellbeing weren’t just the right thing to do, but they were essential to avoid burnout in a critical workforce. With the addition of remote work, there’s never been a better opportunity for IT professionals to find the perfect work-life balance.”

Levielle believes that clear communication around what working in technology involves and the freedoms it offers is needed. “In the same way there can be long hours, there can also be a greater freedom from working in technology. One of the benefits of the space is the aspect of working on clear deliverables. This allows for greater accountability and freedom of movement,” she added.

As a CIO herself, and someone with years of experience working in the industry, Sarah claims that the tech industry has the capacity to be more flexible than any other industry. “Hours worked outside of “the norm” are balanced out with the times you are able to take time out during the day or fit around your home life,”, she finished.

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