Zurich wants to attract more women to the ICT sector with emotion

The canton of Zurich wants to increase the proportion of women in the information and communication technology sectors: In order to break down stereotypical role models, it is focusing on emotions and wants to change the image of ICT professions.

The proportion of women in the ICT sector is 17% nationwide - the canton of Zurich now wants to break down stereotypical role models. (Symbolic image: Keystone/Peter Klaunzer)

A study presented by the Department of Economic Affairs on Thursday shows that the external perception of the sector does not match the reality.

In the study, Philipp Zutt from the neuromarketing company Zutt & Partner investigated how men and women emotionally assess their professions in the ICT sector. He compared this with the information that potential female career starters and possible career changers gave about the tech sector.

More than technology and programming

His conclusion: "Women have a different emotional perception of their ICT job than men". From the outside, however, almost only the male image is perceived, which tends to focus on the intellectual and scholarly, on technology and programming.

The study concludes that the external image is thus distorted and that the view of women working in ICT is missing. As a result, the fact that ICT jobs also offer what many women want in the world of work - the professions are versatile, creative, flexible and require a high level of social skills - is lost.

The distorted image has become a fixed pattern in many people's minds and influences their choice of career, said Zutt. It leads many women to say: "Computers are not for me."

"We are not getting anywhere"

This needs to change, said Economic Director Carmen Walker Späh (FDP) to the media. "Across the country, the proportion of women in ICT professions is just 17%, which is too low."

This is a key sector for Zurich's innovative capacity as a business location. However, it is struggling to find enough skilled workers. It must therefore also become attractive for women; "everyone must be able to participate in the professions of tomorrow."

Walker Späh was aware that the low proportion of women in the tech sector is nothing new and that various measures have already been taken. But: "We are not getting anywhere."

An emotional toolbox

The government councillor is now relying on the "Women in Tech" initiative from the canton, ICT Vocational Training Switzerland, Digitalswitzerland and Taskforce4women. This initiative attempts to break down stereotypical role models with emotions.

On a theoretical level, the solution is simple, noted Zutt. It is simply a matter of presenting the ICT profession differently. In practice, however, simply putting up posters is not enough. Rather, a variety of measures are needed; changes in career choice can only be achieved through a variety of impulses and encounters with the topic of ICT spread over the course of a lifetime.

The "Women in Tech" initiative has therefore developed its first "Emotions Toolbox". This toolbox is intended to help companies, businesses, schools and other interested parties to "re-position and promote ICT and technology professions with the right emotional codes". The jobs should appeal more strongly to girls and women.

Among other things, the toolbox advises the use of certain words, images, symbols and colors. "The form of a message is decisive for our decisions," explains Zutt. It also contains examples of how job advertisements can be made more attractive. The use of influencers or targeted taster offers are also suggested. (SDA/swi)

More articles on the topic