BCS: Women disappearing from IT

Some 37,000 women have gone missing from IT since 2001, the British Computer Society (BCS) has highlighted.

According to government statistics supplied by the BCS, the number of women in IT peaked at 229,440 in 2001, at some 23 per cent of the sector's workforce. As of last year, that had fallen six per cent to 192,580 a difference of 37,000 at a time when the sector grew in size above a million workers.

The manager of the BCS Women's Forum, Dr Jan Peters, said: "Credit crunch or not, IT industry leaders are still predicting skills shortages. And yet the number of women exiting the IT profession continues to rise alarmingly, mainly due to the lack of flexibility offered by employers."

Echoing statements by forum chair Rebecca George made earlier this week, the BCS has published a guide to improving workplace culture, to make it easier for women and men to return from a break in their career, such as to raise children or care for relatives.

Recruitment issues aside, the BCS noted that failing to employ enough women could hurt a firm's chances at winning public sector contracts.

George said: "Having effective diversity and flexibility policies can strengthen bids for public sector contracts because the public sector has sophisticated requirements their suppliers must match."