Industry has ‘serious dearth’ of women IT workers

Woman IT

There is still a serious lack of women working in IT and organisations have even recognised the problem, according to research.

Three-quarters of respondents to a 360 IT website survey admitted their businesses are not doing enough to attract women into tech, even though only a fifth of the IT workers in the UK are female.

Just five per cent said enough was being done, while the remaining 20 per cent said there is already a sufficient number of women IT workers and no more effort needs to be placed into recruiting them.

Maggie Berry, managing director of Women in Technology, told IT PRO that one of the main issues is the way the sector is perceived.

She pointed to Channel 4's The IT Crowd, claiming "it's not really like that, at least not in most places."

Companies Berry has spoken to are genuinely looking to bring in more female IT workers and she said there is no clear discrimination within firm's IT departments.

"In an IT sector that is becoming increasingly crowded and commoditised, organisations need to harness creativity to differentiate, innovate and stay ahead of the competition," she said.

"What better way to do this than by bringing more women into the mix who can provide fresh ideas, approaches and insights previously unavailable to the organisation?"

She claimed companies can do much to close the gender gap in the workforce, such as exhibiting at female-focused events or marketing themselves more directly at women.

Once women have been employed in the sector, flexible working and mentor programmes can be introduced help retain female talent and to help them balance work with their personal lives, Berry added.

"If IT organisations don't make the effort to do so they, and the wider IT industry, will lose out to sectors that are more proactive at recruiting female talent," she warned.

A recent survey from Women in Technology showed confidence was an issue among females looking to move forward in the tech industry.

More than a quarter of the 167 respondents said they did not have enough faith in themselves.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.