Institute of Coding: lack of diversity puts young people off digital careers

The sector is seen as predominately white and unsupportive towards women which may be discouraging members of Generation Z from pursuing a digital career

Young people are discouraged from digital careers because of a lack of diversity, the Institute of Coding (IoC) has said.

In a study of 1,000 16 to 18-year-olds, the IoC found that 56% said the industry needs to be more diverse and inclusive.

The IoC represents employers and educators and was established by the government in January 2018 to help tackle the UK’s digital skills shortage.

One in 10 said they were put off digital education because of concerns over diversity.

What’s shocking is that these are the perceptions of young people who’ve yet to step foot in the industry.
– Jaqueline de Rojas, Institute of Coding

The findings have sparked calls for a “reboot” of the system from the co-chair of the IoC, Jaqueline de Rojas.

Two thirds of respondents – part of Generation Z – believe the sector is run entirely by those that are white. A third felt there were unequal opportunities for women.

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“While some of these opinions echo what many people in the industry may already feel – what’s shocking is that these are the perceptions of young people who’ve yet to step foot in the industry,” de Rojas said.

The IoC has announced a new campaign called CTRL Your Future, which aims to improve awareness of diversity and inclusion in the digital sector.

“A reboot of our system starts with welcoming a fresh, more diverse cross-section of talent through the doors, and CTRL Your Future will unveil just a few of the trailblazers across gaming, fashion and design who are already helping to reshape industry – calling on the next generation to get involved,” de Rojas said.

CTRL Your Future will first partner with DIGI-GXL, an inclusive community which looks to support women, trans and non-binary people who want to reshape the world of 3D digital fashion design.

The scheme will soon partner with London Gaymers, the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ gamer community, and STEMettes, a social enterprise which inspires young women to pursue digital careers.

Find out more about the work of the IoC and CTRL Your Future