The gender pay gap continues to dominate public discussions about equality and fair work opportunities across all sectors, not just the channel.
Initially, the numbers made for some grim reading.
However, a common rebuttal from some quarters has been that the gender pay gap statistics are a blunt instrument when assessing a market's attitude to honouring gender equality, as they don't compare like-for-like jobs.
In other words, they argue that the figures are skewed by the majority of senior, higher-paid roles being held by men, and that it's not fair to aggregate the salaries of lower paid employees - many who are women, and who do different work - against these top execs.
Gail Jones is the MD of Manchester-based UKFast, one of the largest homegrown hosting providers.
She told CRN that despite these critiques, the channel should not be complacent about the state of gender equality in the UK.
"I do think there is a problem. It's not great, and it's something that is now being widely acknowledged across the country." she said.
"What I've seen is that there is amazing engagement from girls when they're young. I've got four daughters and the younger ones absolutely love their code clubs from 5-11…Then they get to senior school and it suddenly becomes not quite so cool, and other things take over.
"And by the time young people get to degree level, the drop off [of girls studying technology] just seems to go off a cliff.
"There's definitely some sort of problem going through the education system, whether that's stereotypes or preconceived ideas about what having a career in the tech industry looks like; this is a big problem."
Jones added that the current pipeline situation is leaving the channel in a difficult bind through restricting their access to a wider variety of skills and experiences.
"We definitely have to stop this split from happening, earlier, because by degree level it's almost too late."
Jones acknowledged that UKFast is also wrestling with the issue.
"When I look around at my technical floor, the split in what I would call true techies is about 85 per cent [men] to 15 per cent [women]. I feel really passionate that this is just not good enough, but we're really struggling to get the female applications coming through the system.
"They're just not coming through to the top: they're not coming through at all sometimes."
One path to increasing the number of women in senior roles in the channel, which has been suggested by some, are women-shortlists.
However, Jones said it's a measure that UKFast does not support.
"I‘m not so sure on positive discrimination. I think that's unfair for everybody in terms of meritocracy.
"For us, we have to have the best engineers supporting our customers, because our customers expect the very best. We can't have an underperforming woman in a role while not giving it to a performing man…
"The challenge is to make sure we're equipping women with the skills and confidence they'll need - at an early age - to get the jobs through merit."
While accepting the frustration many feel at the slow pace of change, Jones added that she believes women need to understand that what the channel looks like is unlikely to change sustainably overnight.
"I've accepted that this is going to take time," she said.
"I can see realistically that as we have around 200 engineers here, roughly 30 of who are female, for someone to say, ‘Well, the next 170 engineers we employ have to all be female', that's just not possible.
"I would love it to be equal, I would love that, but when you're not looking at percentages, and instead are looking at the real numbers, it's something that is so difficult to do in the very near future."
However, Jones cautioned against passive acceptance of the status quo.
"I'm not talking about sitting on our hands - we have to make women come to us," she insisted.
"I've seen our business working so well with such a balanced board: we have a wider range of opinions to draw from….And I do believe we attract better talent by very consciously demonstrating that we are diverse employers."
Yet, Jones was candid about the public pressures in striving to be seen as an inclusive company.
"We don't have all-women shortlists, but the only thing I can equate that to are things like webinars and panels, which we do quite a lot of.
"And yes, we do make sure that we try and get as near equal as possible a number of men and women to get that balanced opinion, but it's not always easy, which is something we learnt last year ourselves.
"We did have a panel with women on it, and then the women dropped out the day before, and all of a sudden you have a ‘man-el', and it's not right! The media went bananas though we tried our best, but trying to be an inclusive and diverse employer remains at the forefront of our strategy."
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