Do you do business in your region? Sign up to our daily bulletin to keep up-to-date.
Challenges for the North East: Working in Tech, the Gender Gap, Research and Impact
Posted by Creative Fuse on 09 Mar 2017
Initial insights from ongoing Creative Fuse North East survey, draw attention to a significant gender gap in the Creative, Digital and IT (CDIT) sector. We often hear about the ‘women in tech’ and the often-dramatic discrepancy between the opportunities afforded men compared with women who work in the technology industry. Given the uncertainty around Brexit and support for the digital, creative and technology industries in the North East, there is a growing concern about the gateway to career progression and opportunities offered in the region.
So far the survey shows that freelance endeavour consistently attracts the greatest numbers of women and over a quarter (27%) are engaged with Music and Performing Visual Arts. Other significant categories of professional work and activity include Advertising and Marketing along with Film, TV, Radio and Photography.
During the same week as International Women’s Day, it is encouraging to see representation, growth and senior career progression by women working across the CDIT sector in the North East. Nonetheless there continue to be serious discrepancies. The gender difference reported from the survey is much more striking when analysing senior representatives or those who hold leadership positions - women are less than one-third of all the business respondents. Overall, women freelancers are reporting a higher rate of unpaid labour than their male counterparts, and at the same time, they express a desire to continue working as self-employed due to a preferred lifestyle. As this is research in progress, this may reflect variation in how women and men are taking an interest in and completing the initial survey. But it is also a moment to begin to paint a different picture about how we pay attention to the activities of companies and individuals in the region. Looking at mature businesses, you get a very different picture than you do when looking at freelancers, and again when you look at the CDIT sector as a whole.
We are in the first stages of a significant and progressive set of projects about the CDIT sector. There is now every opportunity to continue to unpack the ways in which the classic circle of ideas around the label ‘women in tech’, along with subtle stereotypes about who is most likely to hold a senior role can impact the experience in the region. Moving forward, Creative Fuse North East will continue to gather compelling evidence about the CDIT business community in the North East. The Creative Fuse North East survey runs until early April and for everyone interested, there are ongoing CAKE events designed to spark discussion, reflection and action, with the goal of fusing together ideas, projects and possibilities to support future employment and ventures across the region.
Mariann is currently undertaking significant research into how leadership is communicated and understood in Tech Cities. This work continues to investigate the new capabilities of women leaders working in Tech Cities along with the legal and commercial issues around the now infamous “women in tech” (WIT) label.