Umbrella Company employees specialising in IT contracting will be aware that the profession is overwhelmingly male, but are initiatives such as WISE (Women in Science, Technology and Engineering) the solution to the tech gender imbalance? Leading IT recruiter ReThink thinks not.

Twenty leading brands have already signed up to WISE in an effort to increase female headcounts in the technology and engineering professions; however, for ReThink, this measure is unlikely to be effective.

The real answer, the recruiter suggests, is to engage young female school pupils before they make their education decisions and to find out what is holding them back from technology.

ReThink Recruitment’s MD, Michael Bennett, pointed out that despite years of efforts to draw more women into the technology professions, the fact remains that they constitute just 15% of Facebook’s technology headcount and a mere 10% of Twitter’s. Clearly, he argues, the approaches to engaging women that many in the sector are using are failing.

Mr Bennett believes that the disconnect between females and technology begins at a pivotal point in their career life cycle: prior to GCSE-level education. He explained: “What is lacking is the direct engagement with females to identify what attracts them into a specific industry – something businesses need to be working with teaching institutions to do when this audience is in the early stages of their education.”

Mr Bennett advocates a form of outreach to schools whereby IT professionals can act as emissaries for the profession and its excellent career opportunities, engaging young female pupils in a conversation about technology and teasing out what, if any, their misgivings might be.

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