A major opportunity exists to close the growing technology skills gap by addressing a rising perception among young people that a career in technology is ‘not for them’. This is according to the ‘Swipe Right for Tech’ report from global strategic communications and public affairs consultancy Finsbury Glover Hering, which launched today.
Overall, the research reveals that there is significant interest in working in the technology sector among younger Millennials and Gen Zs (aged 16-26): 82% of Chinese respondents indicated interest in working in technology, followed by 62% of British and German respondents and 58% of American respondents.
However, at the same time, many feel that it is ‘already too late’ to enter the sector: around half of respondents in China (51%), Germany (48%) and the UK (46%) stated that they didn’t have the opportunity to study subjects in school that would prepare them for a career in technology, and believe it is now too late for them to pivot. 4-in-10 Americans (41%) have the same concerns. This indicates that one of the greatest challenges in attracting young talent into the sector lies in improving accessibility and reshaping existing perceptions of what is required to work in it.
What’s more, the technology sector has an opportunity to leverage its reputation as a force for good in society. 91% of respondents in China, 66% in the U.K., 65% in the U.S. and 59% in Germany view technology’s impact as ‘more good than bad’. Covid-19 has also bolstered trust in the industry, with all markets seeing a number of younger people who trust the sector more now, compared to before the pandemic started. This is most notable in China (83%), followed by Germany (46%), the U.K. (37%) and the U.S. (35%).
The report also explores young people’s top job priorities, which center on needs such as a competitive salary, positive workplace culture and quality of life. This comes above other, more values-driven attributes. Compensation, including both salary and benefits, are the first potential barriers to entry that technology companies need to consider. The sector’s reputation for the ‘grind’ and ‘hustle’ of long working hours and a desk-based job is also putting off younger people. Providing a good work-life balance is a top priority for 64% of those surveyed in the U.S., 57% in China, 56% in the U.K. and 50% in Germany.
“Despite trust and interest rising in the technology sector, our research shows the industry still has an image problem. It’s worrying, against the backdrop of a growing skills gap, that so many young people view a career in technology as out of reach. The sector’s greatest challenge lies in reshaping perceptions and enhancing accessibility. Companies need to help young people break down these self-limiting beliefs before they become barriers,” said Sophie Scott, Global Technology Lead at Finsbury Glover Hering. “The sector also has an opportunity to align much more closely with young people’s priorities – which are as much pragmatic as they are values-led – to attract new talent.”
“Our research shows just how important it is for technology companies to translate their corporate narratives for younger talent. If young people don’t understand the value proposition of the sector, they simply won’t engage,” said Louisa Moreton, Global Transformation and Change Lead, Finsbury Glover Hering. “Technology companies need to create the opportunity to attract much needed young talent by engaging more deeply and being more relevant.”
Gender diversity – or the lack of it – is also a primary concern, despite this being a dominant narrative in the technology sector. Among those classed as ‘persuadables’ (respondents who have considered a career in technology but don’t work in the sector yet) there is agreement among many Chinese (54%), British (54%) and American (43%) respondents that the sector is too male-dominated and there is not enough gender diversity. Over one third of German respondents (37%) also share this concern. The impact of the sector’s gender gap is even more pronounced among those who have not considered a career in the technology sector – they are significantly more likely to feel that the sector is too male-dominated. More has to be done to close this gap, as issues around gender and diversity are putting young talent off the sector completely.
There is also room for improvement around values, which don’t always align. This was more prevalent in the U.S. and the U.K., with only 49% and 57% respectively citing confidence that the sector aligns with their values. It ranked much higher in China (86%), and relatively better in Germany (66%).
To access the full report please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about Finsbury Glover Hering visit here: https://fgh.com/
Research was conducted by Finsbury Glover Hering Research & Insights in August and September 2021. A total of 2,400 Gen Z and younger Millennials aged 16 to 26 were surveyed, including:
- 600 interviews in the U.S.
- 600 interviews in the U.K.
- 600 interviews in Germany
- 600 interviews in China
Notes to Editors
Finsbury Glover Hering is a global strategic communications advisory firm, headquartered in New York with over 800 multidisciplinary experts across the world’s major financial, government, business and cultural centers. Finsbury Glover Hering is a leader in crisis, corporate reputation, public affairs and capital markets and M&A advisory, as well as an acknowledged leader in boardroom communication counsel. The company serves its global client base from offices in Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Dubai, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Paris, Riyadh, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Washington D.C. and Zurich.
On December 1, 2021 Finsbury Glover Hering announced the completion of its merger with Sard Verbinnen & Co (“SVC). The new firm will help clients achieve their missions and realize their business goals, with over 1,000 professionals operating from 25 offices in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, including its global headquarters in New York.
SVC has for many years been the top global transaction communications advisor on M&A, IPOs and SPACs – consistently ranked as a leader in the North America and global M&A league tables. SVC is also a leader in advising companies facing shareholder activist campaigns, a leading firm in litigation and crisis communications, and has advised on many high-stakes situations around the world with particular areas of strength in the U.S. and Asia. Headquartered in New York, SVC has broad capabilities across the U.S., with strong teams in offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Washington D.C., and Boston, as well as in London and Hong Kong. A South Florida office will open shortly.