IT pros seen as 'geeks'

IT professionals are seen as "techie geeks" by 40 per cent of people in a new poll by recruitment specialist GCS.

Indeed, the survey showed that IT workers are believed to have no social skills and no social lives - not least because they are seen to work such long hours. The recruiting firm suggested the bad reputation could be one reason why the sector faces a lack of skilled workers.

"It's a common misconception that the IT industry is full of 'techie geeks' working in back offices, when in fact the reality is that it's now much more diverse," said Chris Bartlett, GCS' managing director. "Part of the challenge is creating a balanced image to attract the right candidates."

The sector is also seen as being heavily populated by men, with 12 per cent saying they see it as a male-dominated industry. They're not too far off - under a fifth of IT pros are indeed women.

Despite ongoing labour shortages, 31 per cent of those surveyed said they thought IT was a hard profession to get into. "This actually couldn't be further from the truth. It's a common misconception but the truth is that the industry is actually now opening its doors to people from all walks of life," explained Bartlett.

While that sounds quite negative, the sector isn't seen as dull. Just 17 per cent of those surveyed said it was a boring subject. Bartlett suggested that firms - even smaller ones without a large budget - could capitalise on this and reinvent IT as a less-geeky proposition to help boost the number of workers looking to enter the sector.