As the demand for specialist data skills continues to rise across the UK workforce, a recent study has revealed that certain groups, particularly women, remain underrepresented in the data science field.

In light of this, Jaywing, an award-winning integrated marketing agency, is
taking proactive steps to inspire and empower women in data science roles Jaywing’s women in data science have shared what they think the tech and marketing industry can be doing to better support and inspire women.

Inclusive hiring
Karen Snape, data science director said: “Inclusive hiring is particularly important. We sometimes receive no female candidates when recruiting for data science roles and so we will go back to the recruiters to understand more – did any women express an interest but drop out and if so, why? Was there something in the role description that put women off and can we mitigate by rewording the job advert or clarifying elements of the role. It’s crucial that flexible working, family friendly policies and transparent salary structures are included in job adverts to attract a diverse range of candidates in the first place.”

Female leadership
Dr Catherine Kelly, managing director at Jaywing, said: “Providing mentorship programmes and professional development opportunities specifically tailored to women are important for fostering a culture of inclusivity and support where all employees feel valued and empowered to succeed.

“Additionally, agencies can prioritise gender diversity in leadership positions and actively promote women into leadership roles, serving as role models and advocates for future generations of female talent.”

Karen Snape, added: “I am personally mentoring two women working in Jaywing in STEM roles as I feel it is important to support women in their career development. Women in leadership roles can offer invaluable insights and guidance to women at different stages of their career journey.”

Flexible work policies
Dr Catherine Kelly, said: “It’s important to be transparent about family friendly policies including enhanced maternity leave (which we offer at Jaywing), during the recruitment process. Women shouldn’t have to seek out the information during the interview process, it should be upfront and transparent in the job advertisement.

“Flexible working doesn’t just mean part time; it means empowering women to flex and prioritise – that could look like doing the school run some days and starting slightly later or working from home to be closer to childcare. It's important to create a supportive environment for employees managing both career and family responsibilities.

“Similarly, we’ve added additional benefits in the last twelve months such as leave around fertility treatment and baby loss which have been received well. Everyone should be given the time off that they need whilst still being given a fair opportunity to succeed. It was one of the many reasons behind our recent Great Place to Work certification.”

Educational outreach and partnerships
Data science consultant, Mica Allen said: “I believe inspiring inclusion should start from a young age by providing more awareness to girls about STEM career opportunities. This could be achieved by partnerships with schools, colleges and universities, offering an insight into what a career in data science could look like and the experiences of someone that
looks like them. Once women are in careers, having the exposure to a variety of different projects and knowledge sharing is important.”

A culture of continuous learning
Abisola Akinjole, junior analyst said: “Data science is a rapidly evolving field, so keep it’s important to keep learning. Companies can give their employees the opportunity for continuous skill development through knowledge shares, formal education, online courses, or hands-on projects.

“Encouraging participation in industry conferences and events that focus on women in technology is important for building out networks and sharing experiences of women in the industry.”

Jaywing’s data science team have had the pleasure of supporting the likes of Jet2, TSB, HSBC, Virgin Money and Yorkshire Water on transformative projects aimed at optimising their utilisation of data to drive business success.

Through its company initiatives, Jaywing is committed to championing gender
diversity and inclusivity in data science roles, paving the way for a more equitable and representative workforce.

Pictured from left to right: Lily Grant, Abisola Akinjole, Mica Allen, Sally Mcdowall, Katie Stones, Dr Catherine Kelly, Nikol Fletcher, Karen Snape, Amy Clark, Hanna Wade