It is still very much a man’s world as far as IT contracting is concerned. This is the view of the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, which reveals that despite strong growth in the IT sector, women IT professionals in the UK still comprise only 19% of the total.
This puts us well behind many other European countries, which appear more adept in achieving a more balanced gender distribution in the IT skills market.
BCSWomen, a specialist group within the Chartered Institute that exists to provide networking support for women IT professionals, is clearly unhappy about the UK situation. The group’s chair, Gillian Arnold, pointed out that despite the fact that virtually everyone uses IT in their daily lives today, the number of women involved in the development and design of the systems we all rely on is derisory.
Perhaps the tide may be slowly turning. Some major IT employers, she said, are making clear efforts to recruit and retain female IT professionals. However, there is a veritable mountain to be climbed to reach anything resembling equality: the few women who occupy top IT roles get paid a disgraceful 30% less than their male counterparts. The boardrooms of FTSE100 companies are still overwhelmingly male: 85.8% male to a mere 14.2% female – a distribution that, breathtakingly, actually represents an improvement.
BCSWomen insists that there are many talented women out there who are perfectly capable of holding these prized positions, and argues that more needs to be done to encourage them into the sector and support them if the are returning to work after a career break.