Microsoft UK CEO Says Passion Just As Important As Digital Skills

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Gender gap in the tech sector is still an issue, but it’s not all about skills

Having men and women with passion and energy in the technology sector is just as important as the level of digital skills available, according to Cindy Rose, UK CEO at Microsoft.

Rose was speaking to students as part of a DigiGirlz event at Microsoft’s UK headquarters in Reading, which aims to encourage young women to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

She acknowledged that, while there is still a lack of women in senior technology roles, the sector has never been open to receiving diverse applicants boasting a range of skills.

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“You don’t need to be a coder or amazing at maths to work in technology, that’s just not true anymore. I loved technology, and I wanted to be creative and have an effect on people’s lives. Bring energy and passion to the world; and there is a lot to be passionate about what we do,” said Rose.

“We use AI and machine learning to change people’s lives and we need the most creative people to do that. Anyone can now come into the sector, and when they do they will find that it’s a very inspiring career.”

Around 160 girls aged 12 and 13 took part in the DigiGirlz event, where they heard from several Microsoft employees about what a career in the technology sector was like and how firms are adapting to advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

It’s no secret that the tech sector is still very much a male-dominated industry, illustrated by 2016 report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) which found that women earn 19.6 percent less than men in the IT sector.

Things are gradually changing as more organisation make efforts to level the playing field, but research released to mark Girls In ICT Day in April suggested that a gender bias is holding back British girls from pursuing careers in technology.

This clearly shows that, if the gender gap really is to close, parents need to be educated just as much as students about the merits of a career in IT.

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