Tech in NZ needs more young women

  • Hon Clare Curran

Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Clare Curran says New Zealand’s tech sector needs more young women to help break down stereotypes and redress gender imbalance in the industry.

Clare Curran today spoke to nearly 200 secondary school girls taking part in ShadowTech 2018 which is part of TechWeek (May 19-27).

Right now there’s a gender imbalance in the tech industry. The sector employs more than 120,000 people, but only 23 percent are women. I want that to change. It needs to be much higher,” Clare Curran said.

The median salary in New Zealand is $48,800 whereas the median salary for a worker identified as ‘Digital Technology skilled’ is $82,000 according to the Digital Skills Report. A career in tech will not only pay young women well but will also help close the gender pay gap in New Zealand.  

“It’s also worrying to note that just three percent of 15 year old girls are looking at a career in technology. Sorting the gender imbalance can only be good for the sector and the country.”

ShadowTech gives secondary school girls the chance to experience the real world of ICT for a day. They will be matched with 130 leaders in ICT from 34 companies and organisations.

“I want young girls to see there’s a future for them in tech and I hope ShadowTech Day encourages and inspires them to study and work in this field,” Clare Curran said.

“Technology is part of every industry and most careers and New Zealand’s tech sector is the third largest contributor to our economy. By 2025 this government wants it to be the second largest contributor to GDP.

“To get there, we’ll need many more skilled workers. That’s why we’ve introduced the Hangarau Matihiko curriculum, which starts in schools next year, from which we’ll build the workforce of tomorrow. Exposure to technology from a young age will help address some of the stereotyping issues that tech isn’t for girls.

“Our tertiary fees-free initiative will benefit tens of thousands of students next year and even more when it expands by 2024 to provide access to three years tertiary study fees free.

“ShadowTech is about understanding what a career in tech can hold and breaking down stereotypes. I hope the students taking up this Shadow Tech opportunity today really enjoy the experience, discover the opportunities waiting in New Zealand’s dynamic technology sector and that they tell their friends all about it.”

Background:

Through ShadowTech in Wellington today, and other centres through the week, young women will experience:

  • robotics technology,
  • programming,
  • software development,
  • project management,
  • web development,
  • national grid technology,
  • business and data analytics,
  • network engineering
  • and much more.

The ICT sector in New Zealand has unlimited potential, is growing rapidly and pays well.

  • The median salary in New Zealand is $48,800 (source Stats labour market
    earnings)
  • The median salary for a worker identified as Digital Technology skilled is $82,000 (source Digital Skills Report).

For more information on ShadowTech go to https://shadowtechday.nz/

If you want to know more about Techweek go to https://techweek.co.nz/