A new survey reveals that the number of women working in the IT skills market has been flourishing – and a substantial proportion of them is made up of PAYE umbrella contractors and other freelancers.

The number of women working in the digital sector has rocketed by 165 per cent, according to figures from the online business marketplace, PeoplePerHour.com. Almost half of the roles are in programming and design, while ten per cent are in database development and nine per cent in flash programming and wed graphics. Strikingly, 80 per cent of these women are working as freelancers though umbrella companies or limited companies.

The most spectacular rise was seen in the North, with a massive 1000 per cent increase of women entering the IT skills market in the region – and securing a 2995 per cent increase in earnings while they were at it. In the South, there was a more modest (though still impressive) increase of 72 per cent.

But that’s not all: women in the digital sector also managed to gain the highest rating for work quality, attracting an average “full marks” score of 5 out 5.

The IT skills market has for much of its existence been heavily dominated by males. But according to PeoplePerHour.com’s CEO and founder Xenios Thrasyvoulou, the latest figures “provide evidence that women have broken through the digital jobs glass ceiling and are now competing with men on both numbers of workers and on quality of work.”

The figures also show that women “are easily a match for men” and that attitudes have changed, Thrasyvoulou added: “Employers are now more likely to employ a digital worker based on the quality of their work rather than their sex.”

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