YNAP works to boost women's fashion tech careers as research shows low uptake

Yoox Net-A-PorterGroup (YNAP) is continuing its campaign to boost young women’s awareness of tech careers as new research shows that very few think tech is relevant for those seeking careers in fashion, retail and luxury.




The company is a major source of jobs for women and also relies heavily on technology to run its business. Its overall talent pool is two-thirds female, more than double that of tech-based companies on average. 

A new survey showed that while young girls are aware of the availability of careers in technology, half think it would be “unexciting” and over two-thirds associate tech jobs with sectors such as gaming and IT consultancy.

YNAP said its survey results proved that girls/young women also associate tech roles with careers in engineering, architecture, telecommunications and even finance. But as far as the more creative industries such as retail, luxury, travel, fashion and beauty, are concerned, they all come bottom of the list in terms of their relationship with technology roles.

Most young men see tech careers as ‘exciting’ and have a more open approach towards STEM or ICT-related subjects.
 
Despite its intrinsic link to apps, social and online platforms, only 8% of young women think that technology careers have a role to play in fashion, only 7% associate it with retail and just 5% think tech has a place in luxury. This is similar among young men, but they have a slightly broader view of the roles involved.
 
The research was based on interviews with 1,000 young people aged 11 to 16 and 1,000 parents of such children. 

The study follows a series of events powered by YNAP to encourage young people – especially young women – to consider careers in technology. This included a hackathon hosted at the company’s West London Tech Hub where dozens of schoolchildren used coding to explore what tech careers could look like through a fashion lens, as part of its Imperial CodeLab initiative.
 
The partnership between YNAP and Imperial College London helps young people to learn about tech through the lens of fashion. And the company said that it’s therefore "encouraging to find that almost 40% of young women who took part in the research said that they would be further motivated to study tech-related subjects at school, including science and maths, if they knew it could lead to careers in the fashion industry.”
 
YNAP’s chief people officer Deborah Lee said: “It’s common to think of someone working in isolation, writing line-after-line of code when we think about careers in tech, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Today, tech is a creative and flexible discipline, where consumer products and experiences are designed in a collaborative environment. This is especially true of tech and fashion, which together offer a wealth of opportunity which can only increase as these two industries continue to converge through e-commerce.”
 
Importantly too, the young people interviewed said that parents are major influencers on their career choices but the research showed that parents also rarely link fashion, retail and luxury with tech.

Parents are four times more likely to associate the world of finance with tech careers than they are to think about fashion, even though consumers interact with the finance industry in a very similar way to fashion, through apps and online platforms.
 
Equally, fewer than 5% of parents in the UK associate the fashion industry with a successful career in tech, also believing that tech roles are primarily for gamers and IT consultants. However, it is encouraging to see that this issue is purely around awareness, as the research found that 36% of parents would encourage their children to study tech-related subjects if they knew it would lead to a career in fashion.

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