There are fewer women working in the digital sector now than there were ten years ago, a new report from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills has revealed.
In 2012, 26 per cent of workers in the sector were female, which was not only lower than the national average of 47 per cent, but was also down from 33 per cent in 2002.
Karen Price, director of the Tech Partnership network, said: "The news that female entrants to the digital sector are falling is very disappointing. We want to show women and girls that there are great opportunities in the digital sector, and that the rewards are great too.
"It's key that we influence girls from a young age and our TechFuture Girls programme aims to get girls of 10 to 14 engaged with computer skills and IT through after-school clubs. In 2022 these girls will be making choices about further study and careers, and making sure they know how important digital skills are is vital."
The report points to the low number of female students choosing to study fields related to the digital sector, which results in a smaller talent pool for recruiters to choose from. As revealed by a previous study from e-skills UK in 2014, only 12 per cent of applicants to computer science and IT-related courses were female, down from 14 per cent in 2007.
This news comes at a time when the IT skills gap is a huge concern within the industry, and where the number of skilled professionals in the digital sector cannot meet the growing demand.
"The UK's Digital and Creative Industries are amongst our biggest success stories, but for them to continue to flourish we must make sure the next generation of talent is being taught, trained and nurtured," Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said.
"Initiatives like TechFuture Girls that encourage young women to consider a career in this dynamic sector will play an important role in addressing this issue."
In 2014, BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, reported that just 16 per cent of the UK IT workforce and 13 per cent of GCSE computer science entrants were female.
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Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.
You can get in touch with Caroline via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.