Retail sector launches nationwide recruitment drive for women coders - Unilever, TescoBank and dunnhumby

Retail giants Unilever, Tesco Bank and dunnhumby have announced that they are strengthening their efforts to recruit more women coders into the retail sector. 

The companies join other big names including NatWest, GCHQ and Just-Eat in partnering with Code First Girls, which works with over 150 companies in the UK and globally to actively place women into tech roles and help close the tech gender gap. 

With cutting-edge technology needed to keep up with changing customer demands, the retail sector is increasingly turning to AI and machine learning (ML) to improve their operations - including for product recommendations, forecasting, sentiment analysis, and product interactions. 

The tech industry is growing, but in the UK, women make up just 19% of Information Technology professionals, with the latest estimates suggesting that there will be just 1 qualified woman per 115 tech roles next year in 2025. 

Through these partnerships with Code First Girls, Unilever, Tesco Bank and dunnhumby will be helping to change that by offering free coding education for over 400 women in the UK - in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester and London.

Gaining skills across Python, Javascript and SQL, these women will be given the opportunity to career switch into roles that include DevOps & Cloud, Cybersecurity, AI & ML and Security Ops Analyst. 

Commenting on the partnerships, Anna Brailsford, CEO of Code First Girls said: “As changing technologies and customer needs continue to push the retail sector to evolve, building diverse and productive tech teams will be paramount to success. As it stands, with men making up more than 75% of Computer Science graduates in the UK, there are just not enough qualified women to fill the roles companies need. 

“Through these partnerships with major retailers, we’re helping to plug this gap by upskilling women across the nation and supporting their switch to a career in tech - at no cost to them, whilst simultaneously helping the retail sector to develop its technology offering.”

Louise Henbest, HR Director, UniOps - Unilever: “As the industry continues to break ground on cutting-edge technology, we are proud to be working with Code First Girls to get more women into technology roles. We believe that to respond to ever-changing consumer needs faster, we must drive change and nature new talent. CFG’s ability to source, upskill and recruit women into technology roles around the world is unparalleled and so we are thrilled to launch this partnership to champion diversity in tech."

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