As more women choose a STEM career, will Microsoft’s $75m skills gap cash injection help boost this number?

Increasing the number of women in the tech industry is a topic that more companies are hoping to combat, and now WISE has just revealed that more women are choosing a career in STEM occupations.

WISE campaigns to promote women in technology, science and engineering, and its latest figures for August 2015 show that women make up 14.4 per cent of all those in STEM occupations.

WISE has since revealed that it is determined to push even ‘harder to get one million more women in STEM’, with a goal of 30 per cent of women in the UK STEM workforce, and they are already halfway there.

For the first time, Dreamforce hosted its first ever Women’s Leadership Summit yesterday, where various firms took to the stage to express their progress in hiring women and what changes need to happen to entice more women into tech.

During a fireside chat at the summit, Kara Swisher, executive editor at Re/code, and cloud computing company’s CEO Marc Benioff, discussed how Salesforce is promoting equal pay and plans to encourage gender diversity, but admitted change should have happened sooner.

Benioff said: “When we set out our corporate principals, one of the mistakes we made was not taking any goals or initiatives around this. That was a huge mistake."

During the summit, Microsoft boss Satya Nadella also delivered a promising keynote speech where he revealed the company’s plans to inject $75 million (£48.3 million) to plug the skills gap.

Over the next three years Microsoft aims to expand its YouthSpark program and increase access to computer science education for young people.

Nadella said: “If we are going to solve tomorrow’s global challenges, we must come together today to inspire young people everywhere with the promise of technology.

“We can’t leave anyone out.”

This cash injection is great news for the tech industry, which will help young people access a computer science education, which will no doubt help to lead to more young girls choosing a career in tech in the future.

Other firms including CompTIA are launching initiatives to help close the skills gap, by continuing to train those already in the industry whilst also educating kids at a young age about the possibilities in tech.

Although these firms are upping the ante and trying to close the gap, in other news, a former employee is allegedly accusing Microsoft of sex discrimination.

According to former Microsoft security expert Katie Moussouris, she claims that female engineers make less money than their male co-workers and also get prompted less frequently.

Let’s hope that Microsoft can resolve this issue quickly, and continue to try and make a difference with the issue of women in tech.

PCR is also hosting is own Women of the Year awards on October 16th at Sway Bar London, celebrating women in the UK tech industry. Have you got your ticket yet? Make sure you don’t miss out – purchase yours now.

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