Alexis Monks, a software engineer analyst at PA Consulting, makes an important point in her blog ‘Why the tech sector needs a rebrand’ ahead of tomorrow’s Disruption Summit Europe. With Brexit around the corner and thousands of open head counts for engineers, the tech industry does indeed need to rethink its brand.
Over the past 18 months, there has been significant increase in companies coming to us for PR programmes that specifically address this problem. From big organisations looking to appeal to a more diverse talent pool to start-ups that want to position themselves as progressive and innovative, everyone seems to want to change the perception of what it means to work in tech.
In an age where tech CEOs have reached celebrity status, there is a lack of role models that don’t fit the stereotype that Alexis describes. If tech companies truly want to change their image, they need work with Government and educators to drive a genuine shift – but also practice what they preach. Only once we have more visible leaders that break the mould, will we see the STEM skills gap start to shrink.
“If you look at the role models that we have within this career path – you have the Elon Musks, the Mark Zuckerbergs, the Bill Gates – they all look exactly the same,” she says. “In addition, they all have very similar ways of presenting themselves – as the geek who doesn’t really get along with people but who gets things done. They are the kind of person who would think nothing of staying up until 2am drinking Red Bull and programming. This isn’t the image we should be putting out there of the tech industry as it isolates a lot of people.”