THE number of women pursuing digital careers in Scotland has risen by more than 30% in the last two years, according to figures.

Analysis of the most recent ONS Annual Population Survey shows the number of females joining the technology sector has risen from 18% in 2016 to 23.4% in 2018.

In the last eight years, the number of women in the digital sector has more than doubled, from 10,300 in 2010 to 24,000 in 2018.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) announced the news on Ada Lovelace Day, a global celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Lovelace, born in 1815 to Augusta Ada Byron and her poet husband Lord Byron, introduced many computer concepts to the world and is acknowledged as being the world’s first computer programmer.

Ada Lovelace Day aims to increase the profile of women in STEM, encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in the sector.

Claire Gillespie, sector manager for digital technologies at SDS, said the results show what partnership working can achieve.

“Industry, government, educationalists and charity organisations have all been working together to try and address the gender imbalance, and our concerted efforts are starting bear digital fruit,” she says.

Gillespie says that mentoring in schools, the introduction of digital skills into other subjects such as languages, art and music, and the creation of best practice guides and tool kits for employers were all helping to support the rise in the number of girls considering a career in tech.

Gillespie also cites a focus by colleges and universities to address the gap between young women and young men pursuing STEM careers as another reason for the positive trend.

However, much more still needs to be done, she says.

“Complacency will be the enemy of progress,” Gillespie says.

“The last thing we need is to take three steps forward and two steps back when tackling this very real and problematic issue.”

She continues: “We look forward to continuing our work with organisations like Girl Geek Scotland, Education Scotland, Equate, the Scottish Government, ScotlandIS and the wider industry to help fill the 13,000 digital vacancies that exist in Scotland every year.”

Skills Development Scotland say specific plans for increasing diversity in tech over the coming year include a push on mentoring and case studies, working in partnership with the charity sector to target young females, and the continued promotion and creation of digital apprenticeships.

A National Gender Conference, organised by the Scottish Funding Council, will take place in Glasgow on October 25. The event will look to widen access, improve recruitment and admissions, enhance student engagement, and reduce gender-based violence at all the countries colleges and universities.