Is the IT industry deterring women?

News Dec 10, 2012

IT industry must work harder to shift male dominated image, says research

Google today celebrates the birthday of Ada Lovelace, a mathematician considered the world's first computer programmer.

However, 197 years after the pioneer’s birth, women are still shying away from working in IT.

According to a survey by CWJobs.co.uk, 70 percent of IT professionals feel the perception of IT as a male dominated job is deterring women. More than half also felt IT can be considered a “geeky” career choice (63 percent), further detracting women from entering the sector.

The fields highlighted as most lacking in women are engineering (87 percent) and security (90 percent). But there is also a gap in more generalised job titles, with 60 percent of respondents thinking women were more drawn to careers in data analysis and management.

Interestingly, while 77 percent of IT professionals said there was a need for more women within the IT industry, 71 percent said they wouldn’t like to see positive discrimination in the form of a minimum number of employed women.

BCSWomen Group founder, Dr. Sue Black, argues for a quota for employing women: “Showcasing female role models, both within organisations and in the public domain, helps to highlight the women currently working in computing.

“Also, initiatives that practically demonstrate how to use computing as a tool can empower women and help them to see the potential of computing in their area of interest. Talent spotting and mentoring within organisations can also work well to improve the numbers of women moving up into more senior and high profile positions.”

Adds Richard Nott, CWJobs website director: “If Britain wants to promote its own growth as a leader in the global IT industry, we need to ensure we are actively encouraging diversity within the sector. The IT industry needs to work to change its image and encourage more women into the sector. IT is a multi-faceted industry, and it’s continual and extraordinary growth means opportunities are constantly arising for professionals of both genders.

“We need to harness these opportunities, and encourage women to investigate these career choices further.”

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Image: Shutterstock

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