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Starling and Lloyds join Code First Girls

Starling and Lloyds join Code First Girls

The banking and financial services sector is the industry most keen to attract female coders into their workforce, data reveals today, as Starling Bank and Lloyds Banking Group become the latest major finance companies to actively search for female tech talent with Code First Girls - the largest provider of free coding courses for women in the UK.

They join 26 other banks and financial services companies, including Blackrock, Morgan Stanley, NatWest, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America, in an effort to attract more famale talent into their software engineering technical teams.

The financial sector is the largest and fastest growing proportion of Code First Girls’ hundred-strong client list, with fintechs and traditional banks alike keen to hire more women.

Teresa Ng, engineering lead at Starling Bank, says: “Technology is only ever as good as the people that build it, and if your engineers don’t have diverse backgrounds, genders, and ethnicities, you risk building a product with limitations and unconscious biases.

“The more women we can recruit into tech and finance, the more girls and women will aspire to enter the sectors, dismantling stereotypes of tech and finance as a ‘male space’ and improving the outputs of these sectors overall.”

New analysis of the latest ONS Labour Force Survey reveals that women make up only 18% of computer programmers and software development professionals, web design professionals, and data analysts in the UK. There is also a significant gap in the finance industry with new analysis showing women make up just 30% of UK brokers, financial analysts and advisers.

Sharon Doherty, chief people and places officer at Lloyds Banking Group, comments: "We need diversity of all kinds across our team, so that we can fully represent the many different customers and communities we serve.

“At Lloyds Banking Group we’re committed to our aspiration of 50% of women in senior roles by 2025 and we’ve made great progress - but there’s still more we can do. Our aspiration becomes more challenging in some of our more technical areas, where the industry is still not attracting female talent into the pipeline in the same way that we are able to attract male talent."

Female-founded business Code First Girls is seeing an increasing number of women looking beyond roles offered by Big Tech firms, with organisations across all sectors needing tech talent. A recent survey by Code First Girls of more than 1,200 women showed that Goldman Sachs, NatWest, and Barclays feature in the top ten companies that female coders most want to work for. However, they still remain behind the dominant tech companies - Google, Spotify, Apple, Meta, Microsoft and Amazon - in popularity.

Anna Brailsford, CEO of Code First Girls, says: “There is a glaring gender gap in both the tech and financial services industries, which becomes even worse when you look at senior teams. These industries are critical for the UK’s economic competitiveness and innovation, but they need to diversify to better reflect the UK and benefit from female talent.

“Through partnerships with companies like Starling Bank and Lloyds Banking Group, we are helping women break into the industry by linking amazing talent with businesses globally."

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