On average, just 15% of academic staff in the Computer Science faculties of the UK’s leading universities are women, research by developer recruitment platform CodinGame reveals.
CodinGame looked at the top 25 ranked universities in the UK, according to Times Higher Education1. Its research highlights the lack of female academic role models to inspire young women interested in studying Computer Sciences at university.
Of the 25, just one - King’s College, London (33%) - has more than 30% female representation in its Computer Science faculty. While, at two universities, Birmingham (8%) and Southampton (9%), women make up less than 10% of the academic staff.
The percentage of female academics in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford, the UK’s top university, was one of the worst, with just 10% female representation.
Cambridge University, with 19% women and 81% men, has almost twice as many female academics in its Computer Science faculty as Oxford, but still less than one in five faculty members are women.
Table: Computer Science faculities with the highest % of female academics:
Table: Computer Science faculities with the lowest % of female academics:
Studies have shown the importance of female role models in inspiring girls to pursue STEM fields, including Computer Sciences2, and going onto have a career in tech.
The tech sector as a whole continues to suffer from a lack of gender diversity, with women making up less than 20% of the tech workforce. The lack of girls choosing to study STEM subjects, particularly Computer Sciences, at university is a factor.
Companies are having to do more to address this gender imbalance by making hiring processes more inclusive, mitigate unconscious bias and ensure candidates are assessed fairly and equally. This includes hiring based on expertise not CVs, using skills-based recruitment platforms like CodinGame.
Universities could and should be leading by example when it comes to addressing gender diversity. A starting point could be to look at their hiring procedures.
Aude Barral, co-founder of developer recruitment platform CodinGame, comments: “Women still account for less than a fifth of the tech workforce, and the issue of gender diversity within the tech sector has been a talking point for years.
“Encouraging more women to study STEM subjects, and particularly Computer Sciences, at university, and inspire them to forge a career in tech, would be a step in the right direction to address the gender imbalance.
“But women continue to be underrepresented in STEM university courses, and Computer Sciences has the worst ratio of women to men of any of the STEM fields.
“There could be a number of reasons why women aren’t choosing to study Computer Sciences to a higher level. But the importance of female role models to inspire young women shouldn’t be underestimated, nor should the lack of female academics teaching Computer Sciences in our leading universities.
“Our very best academic institutions should be leading by example. The huge gender disparity when it comes to faculty staff needs to be addressed, if we hope to encourage more young women to choose tech as their future career.”