Worrying signs for UK female tech sector as gender gap widens

17 Jun 2014

A new report published in the UK appears to show worrying signs for gender balance in the UK tech industry as the gap between males and females widens.

According to the BBC, the study undertaken by BSC, the chartered institute for IT and E-skills UK created a Women in IT scorecard which they judged those working within the sector and from preliminary figures showed that women only account for 16pc of the IT workforce.

From the early stages of education, it appears that despite high-achieving levels seen among girls taking computing subjects at A-levels, they only account for 6.5pc of those actually sitting the exams.

Another major problem highlighted by the report has shown that on average women earn 16pc less in IT in comparison with their male equivalents.

However, one statistic would appear to follow the similar findings from the Irish Government’s GEM report on the gradual growth in the number of female-led start-ups with the number of self-employed women within IT doubling in the space of a decade.

The regular misconception with regard to the gender gap is that it is steadily narrowing, however, a recent article posted on LinkedIn by its senior vice president of products & user experience Deep Nishar, showed that in fact, in 1984 the gap was less with 38pc of US computer graduates being women, as opposed to today’s figure in the UK of 16pc.

Karen Price, chief executive of E-skills UK said of the report: “Women have a significant contribution to make to the IT sector, and it is vital for the economy that we ensure they have the opportunity.

“This joint report provides the evidence we need to face the problem head-on, and to develop hard hitting and effective interventions to solve it.”

Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.

Female IT professional image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey
By Colm Gorey

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic. He joined in January 2014 and covered AI, IoT, science and anything that will get us to Mars quicker. When not trying to get his hands on the latest gaming release, he can be found lost in a sea of Wikipedia articles on obscure historic battles and countries that don't exist any more, or watching classic Simpsons episodes far too many times to count.

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