Wise, the campaigning group for greater gender balance in science, technology and engineering (STEM), is calling for employers, professional bodies and educators to set a target of achieving 30% of women in core STEM roles in 10 years on the back of new official figures which reveal there has been virtually no progress in the tech industry for a decade.
According to Office of National Statistics data, women represent just 16% of all tech professionals - a figure that has remained static for almost ten years - but other sectors have made progress.
Engineering has doubled the number of women represented in the profession overall to 50,000, while science has also made significant progress with women now in touching distance of representing 50% of science roles.
The number of women in STEM management roles has also increased to 14%, and Wise insists this could help encourage others to enter the profession. Overall, women hold just over 24% of STEM roles.
Wise chief executive Helen Wollaston said: "Having seen the number of women in core STEM roles reach our target of 1 million, we now need to keep up the momentum and aim for a target of 30% of women in STEM which is critical mass for sustainability.
“The fact that women remain so under-represented in tech is incredibly disappointing. Technology roles account for 25% of core STEM roles and are among some of the most exciting careers to be a part of and yet companies are failing to attract and retain women.
“The progress made by these sectors clearly demonstrates that forward-thinking companies can create change.”
Wollaston believes the business case for greater gender diversity shows that companies are more adaptable, productive and responsive to what their customers are telling them.
She concluded: “We know from our members what works, and we are here to help other employers understand what they need to do and help them create action plans, including targets, to improve their workplace culture.
"Directors and board members need to take responsibility and be accountable for creating an inclusive workplace culture and helping their middle management to deliver it. Employers need to be clear; to get ahead in STEM, they need to recruit, retain and develop female talent – failing to do so will mean being left behind.”