I was given a tour of a secondary school recently by a couple of very passionate and articulate students. We were looking on behalf of my son. I asked one of the students - who was a girl - How popular is Computing for GCSE's. "Very Popular" she said "....but of course it is only boys that do it".
I sighed with disappointment. This was a realisation of the gender perceptions within Computer Science and Technology.
The growth of Technology graduate vacancies is in double digits over the last five years and the fastest growing Graduate recruitment sector is Technology. The volume of IT Undergraduates is struggling to keep up with this demand and one strong reason for this is the lack of female pupils taking up this subject at school and consequentially following up at University.
Once the autumn arrives, final year Computing Science (and similar degrees) students will have a fantastic opportunity to apply for a range of attractive IT Graduate schemes. Computer Science graduates are a hot commodity.
The range of sectors looking for Technology Graduates is broad with Tech, Banking, Financial and now Retail amongst the leaders. There is also a strong growth in tech start-ups in the UK that provide excellent Graduate opportunities and development - which is often a very different type of opportunity to the traditional Big Co Graduate Scheme.
The Tech Sector in the UK is worth £91 billion and forecast to grow significantly. As a country reliant on digital to generate future economic growth, we shouldn't have such a gap of supply and demand.
Therefore in 2016 the emphasis is on Graduate Employers to attract a sufficient Graduate talent pool to meet their hiring requirements. Candidate attraction methods need to be more diverse than ever including Social, Content and jobsites alongside traditional Campus Activity. Digital outreach offers such a range of opportunities to promote the employer brand which is why we have invested in Graduate sites such as www.itgraduatejobs.com
Investment from employers in quality of offering (training, development) etc is as always of vital importance - but the real key in my opinion is often the Employer Brand i.e. what it stands for, how it is perceived and how the inspiration and passion it evokes.
The macro outlook for the IT Graduate market though must focus on Government and Education initiatives to encourage more Students to take up Computing and especially female students. This is without a doubt. Without this the investment for Graduate Employers will need to be significant.
Perhaps for those companies with long term investment, there will be more Student sponsorship throughout University years to ensure that companies identify and thus 'contract' Technology Graduates earlier within their undergraduate lifecycle.
In summary though, for many of today's computer science and computing graduates, they have the opportunity to enter the workforce via a range of great Graduate Employers, competing for their signature.
Anthony Sherick is MD of Technojobs