A new Artificial Intelligence system, which examined the role of men and women in the British workplace by reading every website originating from the UK, has found that there is still huge gender bias. The study was created by a team of AI engineers and data scientists at the UK start-up Glass A.I, whose technology read and interpreted every website of the internet from the UK and compiled information on employment practices.
The study, published this month by the Royal Statistical Society, reveals stark differences between gender work-roles, and huge segregation in some sectors of the economy. It finds that around 95 per cent of receptionists, legal secretaries and care assistants are female in the UK while 85 per cent of investment bankers are male, and the creative industries remain overwhelmingly male dominated.
Despite being almost as equally likely to participate in the work force – men remain far more likely than women to be in leadership roles, across all sectors.
- 82 per cent of all CEOs, 92 per cent of chairpersons and 73 per cent of directors are male, which confirms statistics already highlighted by the ONS (Office for National Statistics) research.
- Of 108 economic sectors examined, 87 per cent are biased towards men. Investment banking is 85 per cent male, across all roles.
- Civil Engineering, oil and gas remain 80 per cent male.
- Creative industries such as media, music, internet and photography also remain heavily male biased.
- The study does reveal some female dominated sectors too – veterinary science is 78 per cent female, and primary and secondary education is 71 per cent female.
“It is well known that there is a male bias in the board room, what has not been appreciated is the sheer scale of bias across ordinary jobs, and the level of gender segregation between sectors,” says data scientist Ana-Maria Huluba who ran the study. “What makes the study even more interesting is that men and women actually appear in almost equal numbers on the web in total, with 51 per cent male, and 49 per cent female – which matches the ONS numbers for gender in the workplace. And yet beneath this we get this massive segregation of roles and appearance in different economic sectors. This is a complex pattern that is supportive and yet goes beyond traditional stereotypes of activity.”
The Glass AI crawler was set to read the entire .UK top-level domain, for both public and private organisations. Sites were analysed if they were written in English, had a UK physical address, had some description of the organisation that the AI could recognise, and had people (either through team pages, biographies, or roles or descriptions).
Glass have built technology to monitor the entire internet for economic and social science analysis. The AI categorises content and builds summaries of activities, networks of companies and people, acting like a vast automated LinkedIn, so as to reveal economic and social trends.
This technology has already been used by UK government analysts to map the UK AI ecosystem, as well as to produce economic studies for drones, virtual reality and other emerging sectors of the economy. In this latest study, the AI assessed gender roles within UK businesses as represented online.