Female tech staff 'in decline' in the UK

Girls looking at a laptop Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Girls may start out keen but few take computing and computer science at GCSE

The UK faces a worsening gender gap in its flourishing IT industry, according to a new study.

The Women in IT scorecard looked at gender trends from secondary education through to the work place.

It indicates women account for just 16% of the UK IT workforce.

And the problem starts early - despite consistently out-performing boys in computing A-level results, girls account for just 6.5% of those taking the exam.

The study was compiled by BCS, the chartered institute for IT, and E-skills UK.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Girls account for just 13% of entries for computer science GCSEs
  • The proportion of women working as self-employed IT specialists has doubled over the past decade
  • Women IT specialists earn 16% less on average than their male counterparts
  • IT gender imbalance is a problem across the whole of Europe, but female representation is lower in the UK

Gillian Arnold, chairwoman of BCS Women, said: "The continuing decline in women entering the IT profession is a real threat for the UK and an issue that clearly we need to address."

Karen Price, chief executive of E-skills UK, said: "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."

There has been a glut of charities and groups set up to fight gender imbalance, determined to offer good role models to young girls and dispel the myths of an industry run by geeks.

For example, Stemettes is a group of volunteers set up to help combat the lack of girls studying so-called Stem subjects - science, technology, engineering and maths.

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