Tag: Tech

The decision comes after Amazon’s recent announcement of cutting 18,000 jobs globally

Amazon has announced its plans to close three warehouses in the UK and open two new major fulfilment centres. This decision may impact 1,200 jobs, but the company says all employees will be offered roles at other existing Amazon locations. The proposed closures include warehouses in Hemel Hempstead, Doncaster and Gourock, in the west of Scotland. The new sites, which are planned to open in Peddimore in the West Midlands and Stockton-on-Tees in the North East, are expected to create 2,500 jobs over the next three years.

A spokesperson for Amazon stated that the company is always evaluating its network to ensure it meets the needs of the business and improves the experience for its employees and customers. The closure of these sites, as well as the opening of new ones, is a part of this ongoing process. They also highlighted that employees affected by the closure will be offered the opportunity to transfer to other facilities.

The union representing some of the workers at the Hemel Hempstead site expressed disappointment with the decision, and is sceptical about the possibility of finding alternative work for all affected employees. The company has acknowledged that the Gourock location has less scope for alternative work within Amazon and says they will offer retraining and reskilling opportunities to affected employees.

Steve Garelick, GMB union officer for Hemel Hempstead, commented: “Disappointed for the workers and disappointed for the town and a deep concern this is the thin end of the wedge for the local area.

“Some workers may be offered alternative roles but decamping to Luton, Dunstable or Milton Keynes isn’t as practical as you might think.”

This decision comes after Amazon’s recent announcement of cutting 18,000 jobs globally and joins other tech giants in mass redundancies. Amazon has over 1.5 million employees worldwide, with 300,000 in corporate roles that are likely to be affected by the worldwide cuts.

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But how diverse is the tech industry?  

According to data released by UCAS, IT courses at UK universities have seen a record number of women applicants, a freedom of information request has revealed.   

The UCAS-sourced data and collated by IT security solutions providers Cheeky Munkey was sought to identify the increasing diversity of demographics entering the UK tech industry, taking into account the specific courses being applied for, as well as the age and gender of the applicants. 

During the last 10 years the number of female applicants to IT courses has increased by 82%.  

Also, since 2019, there has been an increase of 10% in women applying to computer science roles while applications by men to the same courses rose by 52% in the UK. Since 2019 the increase in male applications stands at a mere 2%.  

The news comes as figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the tech industry was the third-fastest growing sector for job growth in the UK between July and September 2021, with women representing 71% of professionals placed during this period. 

Diversity in the tech industry: how much more needs to be done?  

Overall, the UK is seeing a growing surge in applicants studying to enter the tech industry — a 57% increase compared to a decade ago. With the pandemic highlighting the importance of digital transformations, it’s crucial that the UK is able to produce graduate tech talent to serve the growing need – especially in light of skills shortages.  

Analysing the most recent data, courses in AI have the highest number of women applying, although the data shows that the figure is only just over one in five (21%). Software engineering courses have seen the largest increase in the share of women applying – just 8% of applicants were women in 2010, this rose to 14% in 2020, a 66% increase. 

While great strides have been made to increase the number of women in tech, there is still work to be done to encourage women to join the sector. The data has revealed that computer science courses attracted 24,020 women applicants in 2021, compared to 117,295 male applicants. This equates to just 17% being female applicants, although it is higher than the 13% figure in 2013 – the lowest point in the last decade. 

Graham Lane, Director of Cheeky Munkey, commented: “Demand for IT professionals is as strong as ever, especially with disciplines like artificial intelligence set to grow rapidly in the coming years. Failure to meet demand, by shutting certain groups out, and the UK could be left behind in an industry that’s crucial to the economy. 

“Graduates provide fresh thinking and come to businesses equipped with the latest in IT theory. The more graduates – whether they’re men or women – entering the industry, the better the pool of talent available.” 

Danielle Keegan, Head of Permanent Recruitment at VIQU commented: “Universities are now very aware of the lack of women in technology and are actively putting initiatives in place to attract women to study tech-focused courses. [According to] a PwC UK research report titled ‘Women in Tech – Time to Close the Gender Gap’, 78% of students could not name a famous female working in tech. I believe companies need to be actively working with schools and universities in order to highlight the achievements and work of women in tech.  

Amit Kapoor, Director of Mindful Contract, a recruitment consultancy that focuses on interim resourcing for major digital transformation programmes, also made comment: “Many employers aren’t comfortable acknowledging, let alone declaring, that they have a representation problem. Language in a job description needs to be tempered to give assurance that the workload is manageable without requiring lifestyle sacrifices. 

“We recently launched a campaign for a banking client that had identified women as an underrepresented category. We stated this position as-is on our job advertisement, explicitly encouraging application from women. This yielded a higher-than-usual rate of applications from women.” 

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