Secondary school girls’ interest in digital careers in Malta

Part of the Women in Digital initiative of eSkills Malta Foundation and in follow-up to the 2020 Analysis of the Gender Gap in the Digital Sector in Malta and its recommendations, we is currently undertaking a survey of perceptions among secondary school students and educators on the attractiveness and pursuit of digital careers by girls in Malta.

Two separate questionnaires have been prepared, one addressed to girl students, and another one to teachers (of ICT related subjects and PSD/career guidance) in both girls-only and co-ed secondary schools.

The survey is completely anonymous, and no personal identifier data of the respondents will be collected and processed as part of the survey.

The aim is to gauge the extent of and any shifts in interest in pursuing ICT studies and digital careers among girls along their secondary school years, as well as factors potentially affecting such interest. Perceptions of educators are also deemed important and being explored.

Why is this important?

  • According to European Commission studies, the demand for ICT professionals has been growing by 4% annually over the past years, with the COVID-19 pandemic further accelerating the growth in demand.
  • A 21.9% employment growth in Malta’s ICT sector was forecasted by CEDEFOP for the period 2020-2030, more than double the average growth forecasted across EU27 (8.9%).
  • The ICT Skills Demand and Supply Monitor 2021 recently published by the eSkills Malta Foundation unequivocally states that the current Maltese ICT student pipeline will not be sufficient to meet the forecasted growth in demand for ICT professionals.
  • The European Digital SMEs Alliance recently reported a deficit of 1,000,000 ICT professionals and 150,000 eLeaders in the EU in 2020.
  • According to Eurostat, in 2017 an average of 53% of EU enterprises had hard-to-fill vacancies for ICT specialists, with the Maltese enterprises being even worse affected (73%).
  • The European Commission’s Women in Digital (WID) Scoreboard 2020 ranks Malta 17th, below the EU average, confirming that Malta is affected by a gender imbalance and its respective consequences, even more than most other EU member states.
  • The percentage of women amongst ICT specialists in Malta is 10.7%, almost half of the average proportion of female ICT specialists in EU (17.7%).
  • The 2021 Global Gender Gap Report indicates that only 2.31% of the female graduates in Malta hold an ICT degree, compared to 14.76% of the male graduates. This percentage is also lower than the global average of 3% and the European one of 2.9%.
  • A 2019 OECD study on “The role of education and skills in bridging the digital gender divide” found that on average, at the age of 15, less than 0.5% of girls would like to be working in the ICT sector, compared to 5% of the boys.
  • A 2017 study undertaken by Microsoft across over 11,500 secondary school girls in 12 European countries showed a significant decline in the interest of girls in ICT studies between the ages of 11/12 and 15/16 years old.

What can you do?

Help us address the significant talent crunch and female deficit that Malta’s Digital Sector is facing by filling in the questionnaires below and/or sharing them with secondary school girls and teachers you know.

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