More women in ICT would boost EU annual GDP by €9bn – EC study

3 Oct 2013

Only 19.2pc of ICT-sector workers have female bosses compared to 45.2pc of non-ICT workers. If this trend was reversed and women held digital jobs as often as men, the European GDP could be boosted annually by about €9m, or 1.3 times Malta’s GDP, a new study from the European Commission reveals.

The commission’s survey on women active in the ICT sector also found that out of 1,000 women who have earned a bachelor’s degree or other first degree, only 29 hold a degree in ICT, compared to 95 out of 1,000 men, and only four in 1,000 women will eventually work in the ICT sector.

The European Commission study suggests four priority areas where action should be taken on involving more women in ICT:

  • Building a renewed image of the sector among women and society, with actions such as disseminating most appealing ICT topics for young women (for example, exciting, diverse, and profitable).
  • Empowering women in the sector, such as promoting, together with industry, harmonised European educational curricula to foster clear and straightforward ICT careers paths.
  • Increasing the number of women entrepreneurs in ICTs, for instance, improving access to seed and venture capital programmes for women entrepreneurs.

What’s more, the study suggests that women leave the sector mid-career to a greater extent than men and they are under-represented in managerial and decision-making positions (even more than in other sectors).

It’s not all bad news, though. The study also found that women who work in the ICT sector earn almost 9pc more than women in other parts of the economy, have greater flexibility in arranging their working schedules, and are less susceptible to unemployment.

Organisations that are more inclusive of women in management achieve a 35pc higher return on equity and 34pc better total return to shareholders than other comparable organisations, according to the study.

“We now know, beyond doubt, that more women in a business mean a healthier business,” said Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice-president.

“It is high time the IT sector realised this and allowed women a chance to help the sector and Europe’s economy benefit from their enormous potential.”

Woman in tech image via Shutterstock

Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s year-long campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths

Tina Costanza
By Tina Costanza

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic. She came to Ireland from Canada, where she had held senior editorial positions at daily newspapers in Ottawa and Toronto. When she wasn’t saving dangling participles, she was training for 10K races or satisfying a craving for scones.

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