Recent data shows how U.K. tech companies are hiring less women as more in the workforce adjust to return to office mandates.
According to an analysis published by Bloomberg, women made up one out of every five new hires over the last two years at tech firms where employees are required to come into the office at least four days a week.
The data stems from a report published by digital consultancy firm Nash Squared, which conducted a survey of 1,185 U.K. chief technology and information officers, from June to September.
The dip in hiring seems to be a direct response to the change in work environments. As companies transition from remote work to in-office or hybrid models, there appears to be a negative bias toward hiring fewer women. The reasons behind this trend are not entirely clear, but it’s possible that traditional biases and stereotypes are resurfacing.
Research has found that working mothers have enjoyed more freedom with the greater flexibility offered by remote work arrangements. More specifically, a high number of mothers with young kids were participating in the workforce due to the ability to better balance professional and childcare responsibilities more effectively. A return to office mandate impacts this work-life balance.
This trend raises questions about gender equality in the tech sector. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many tech firms were making strides in hiring more women and in promoting diversity. The current shift not only threatens to reverse this progress but also poses a risk to the industry’s innovation and growth.
It’s essential for tech companies and industry leaders to be aware of these developments and take proactive measures to ensure that diversity and inclusion remain a priority. A reduced focus on diversity could lead to a less inclusive work environment, potentially stifling creativity and innovation. It could also discourage new generations of women from pursuing careers in tech — further adding to gender disparity and the pay gap in the industry.