Posted on December 13, 2016 by staff

Why do women occupy just 17 per cent of all IT jobs?


Only 17 per cent of all IT Professionals are women – and that figure hasn’t changed for three years.

According to the 2016 Women in IT Scorecard published by BCS and Tech Partnership, female tech representation yet to achieve lift off.

Female representation in the sector remains largely static despite continuing strong growth in job opportunities.

And the report claims the roots of under-representation are clear when traced back through the education system.

Women account for 56 per cent of all graduates, but only 17 per cent of graduates in IT related subjects.

They account for 52 per cent of all apprenticeships, but just 19 per cent of tech apprenticeships; girls take 26 per cent of IT-related A levels; and 36 per cent of IT-related GCSEs.

Karen Price, CEO of the Tech Partnership, said: “Employers have long been concerned about the lack of women in technology, but it is now a real priority.

“If we’re to sustain the growth of this vital, high-value sector, we must attract bright, hard-working people of both genders and from every background.

“We can’t afford to miss out on half the population.”

This shortfall in female recruitment takes place at a time when the sector itself is in strong growth. The latest ONS data shows gross value added from digital industries rose by 11.4 per cent between 2014 and 2015 to £104bn, more than four times that recorded for the economy as a whole (2.6 per cent).

In 2015 the digital industries accounted for 6.2 per cent of all GVA within the UK economy (£1.666bn).

The shortfall in female recruitment takes place at a time when the sector itself is in strong growthOf the 17 per cent of IT professionals who are women, most tend to be concentrated in project and programme management roles, and in web design and development, where they take 27 per cent and 26 per cent of the available positions.

At the other end of the scale, only 12 per cent of programmers and software developers are female. 11 per cent of IT directors are women: this is up 1 per cent over 2015, so may prove grounds for optimism.

Gillian Arnold of BCS Women points to the strenuous efforts made by a range of bodies to encourage more women into technology.

She said: “The industry is putting tremendous resources into this issue, and while it is disappointing that we haven’t yet seen a breakthrough, I believe that these initiatives do make a difference.

“Employers and educators must continue to strive to attract girls, not just by showing them the challenging and well paid roles we can offer, but also the opportunities to solve problems, improve lives and make the world a better place through technology.”

Arnold added: “This is a global issue, not just one for the UK.

“Even the best performing nation – Israel – achieves only 26 per cent female representation. But given the UK’s ambitions, we need to be doing much better.

“One significant measure we could take, which is entirely in our hands, is to correct the pay imbalance.

“Women continue to earn only 85 per cent of the male rate: reaching equality would send a strong signal to women that they are welcomed and valued in our sector.”