Women in Tech 2023 year in review

By Claudia Pellegrino

The PA Women in Tech (WiT) Network is passionate about increasing gender diversity and inclusion within technical fields, both inside and beyond our offices.

We use our experience to ensure the future of technology is more diverse, inclusive, and benefits everyone. We provide learning and development opportunities, build supportive communities of engaged women, industry partners and allies, and ensure our recruitment activities promote equal opportunities.

This year, we’re proud to celebrate a wide range of achievements, which would not have been possible without the dedication of every single member of our internal and external community of over 1000 people. Not only have we expanded by 30 percent from 2022, with the generous support from The PA Foundation we increased our work with several charities and have also been awarded ‘Best Initiative for Skills and Inclusion’ at the Scottish Financial Services Awards.

As we approach 2024, we remember some standout moments from 2023 and reflect on future priorities:

1. We’ve expanded our learning and development initiatives to allow even more women to upskill in digital and succeed in STEM careers

When increasing gender diversity in technology, retraining is an incredibly effective, but often forgotten method. Retraining includes providing women with hands-on learning and development opportunities to re-imagine or begin their careers in tech. It’s also the perfect way to create the next pipeline of gender-diverse tech talent, furthered by looking to young or unconventional demographics.

Through our coding courses this year, we’ve trained over 160 people in web development, Python, and data science. The Web Development course provides training in high-level infrastructure, user research, user experience, design, HTML, CSS, and FE frameworks. Our Python course covers coding fundamentals, data structures, logic, functions, and working with files. And our newest Data Science course covers visualisation basics, and several machine learning models. The feedback on all our courses has been remarkable, with 100 percent of attendees saying they would recommend the course to their network.

Lastly, we focused on engaging schools. We collaborated with Stemettes to deliver a Python course educating over 30 secondary school students on the basics of data. We’ve also run two code-along sessions with secondary schools across the south of the UK to give students an introduction to web development through an interactive working session and hands-on exercise.

As we enter 2024, PA have worked closely with Tech She Can, a charity committed to changing the ratio of women in technology and providing free learning resources to inspire children into technology careers. 

And we plan to expand our school outreach programmes in partnership with PA’s annual Raspberry Pi Competition. For schools and teams of students interested in participating in the competition, we’re offering complimentary women in tech code-along sessions. You can sign up here.

2. We focused on mentoring and developing talent, through two dedicated mentorship schemes, reaching over 120 participants

This year, we facilitated the onboarding of eight students from the CFG Degree programme. The initiative entails a three-month learning experience that upskills students in technical subjects, providing courses in Data, Full Stack, and Software Engineering. Upon joining PA, we provided candidates with the opportunity to participate in a range of training, including software engineering, data, and consulting skills. The feedback received was exceptional, gaining a 100 percent ‘excellent’ rating with eight out of ten for overall candidate experience. One candidate said: “I am really enjoying working for a large public sector client. I feel supported and challenged, I have gained a good grip of the technical stuff thanks to the support I received.”

We also expanded our internal award-winning mentorship scheme. With over 100 participants, we pair senior consultants with junior women and non-binary consultants for mentoring. The scheme, which was awarded ‘Best Employer Network’ at the Women in Tech Employer Awards, focuses on topics such as managing work-life balance, development of technical skills, getting to grips with the latest tech, as well as support sessions for both mentor and mentees.

Through our collaboration with Stemettes, we launched our first external mentoring scheme, which pairs 20 PA volunteers with young women and non-binary individuals aged 15 to 25 for four months. This initiative aims to foster long-term support and guidance for mentees, supporting them to enter and thrive in the STEM workforce.

In 2024, we’ll continue to focus on inclusion by running dedicated campaigns on topics including confidence and being a parent or carer while working in tech. Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest insight.

3. We created a community and support network through events and cross-organisational partnerships

Gender diversity in tech is a systemic issue that we cannot fix alone. So, to influence cross-industry change, earlier in the year, we launched our Women in STEM report, which sheds light on the most effective actions to attract, recruit, retain, and retrain women in STEM. We had the pleasure of discussing the report findings, gained from interviewing over 300 organisations, with inspirational leaders such as Vanessa Valley OBE, on the She Talks Tech podcast, and on stage at Karren Brady’s Women in Business and Tech Expo.

We also collaborated with a large number of organisations and external networks such as Jacobs, Google, The Girls Club, Unilever, and Women in Tech Belfast, holding over 20 events in England, Ireland, and the US. Events included the annual Women in Tech Hackathon in partnership with Kelloggs and the Department for International Business and Trade. Here, 40 women and non-binary people came together to find ingenious ways to harness the power of data to help companies create inclusive and personalised experiences tailored to marginalised groups. We were amazed by all the ideas developed, but the winning team took to the stage with an innovative job platform to help neurodiverse people find a job through tailored offerings and experiences.

Coming together at events is not going to fix everything. But it’s great to see how women and allies from different organisations are collaborating to close the STEM gender gap and to make a difference.

So, what’s next?

As we approach 2024, we plan to grow the confidence and skills of all women and non-binary people within our community, with a specific focus on women who are parents and carers. We’ll continue to expand globally and create partnerships across the UK and the US. And finally, we’re recruiting: check out our vacancies in technology at PA .

We look forward to seeing you next year as we continue to build diversity in tech.

About the authors

Claudia Pellegrino PA business design expert

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