'While there are some good indications that suggest there is progress in some areas, it's still not enough'

One in ten IT specialists are women – report

Around one in ten (or 11 per cent of) IT specialists in the UK are women, according to a report into gender equality in the IT industry.

The Women in IT Scorecard, conducted by BCS and e-skills UK, also found that, of the 753,000 people working in the IT sector up to 2013, just one in five were female. The news comes after PCR published its top 50 women in UK tech list.

The dearth of female representation in the UK was said to be below the average male/female split in EU 15 nations.

However, despite this gender imbalance, there were signs that change in the industry is happening, with the proportion of women working as self-employed IT specialists having more than doubled over the past decade.

Women were also found to be much more likely to hold technician or engineer-grade positions than men (34 per cent and 20 per cent respectively).

Just under one in five (18 per cent) of females working as IT specialists were employed on a part-time basis – a figure well below that for other occupations.

While girls only accounted for 6.5 per cent of students taking A-Level computing subjects in 2013, the report stated that they were found to “consistently out-perform boys in computing and ICT A Levels”.

At £640 per week, the median gross weekly rate of pay for female IT specialists was 16 per cent – roughly £120 – less than the figure for men working in IT roles (£760). The recorded level of pay for women in IT roles has been consistently below that of male IT specialists for the past 10 years.

Gillian Arnold, chair of BCSWomen, commented: “The continuing decline in women entering the IT profession is a real threat for the UK and an issue that clearly we need to address. This report helps to identify the areas where we need to focus our energy.

“While there are some good indications in the findings that suggest there is progress in some areas (for example – an increase in the number of women working in IT part-time), it’s still not enough.

"We need to work together, as individuals, educators and businesses to tackle the issue. We know girls and women are good at computing and we need to translate that ability into action, and inspire them to see IT as a career option that offers them great career opportunities.”

Karen Price OBE, CEO of e-skills UK, added: “Women have a significant contribution to make to the IT sector and it is vital for the economy that we ensure they have the opportunity.

“Employers care deeply about the gender imbalance and are committed to taking action to improve it. This joint report provides the evidence we need to face the problem head-on, and to develop hard hitting and effective interventions to solve it.”

See PCR’s list of the top 50 women in the UK PC and technology channel here

Image of female tech worker courtesy of Shutterstock.co.uk

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