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Cisco's European workforce is just over one-quarter female following an "incredibly successful" recruitment drive, the company has revealed.
Speaking at the company's Networkers conference last week, Cisco's president for Europe, Chris Dedicoat (pictured), explained that the company has put procedures in place to make it easier for managers to hire more female employees.
Dedicoat said Cisco has implemented a policy whereby a manager who successfully recruits a woman from outside the IT industry is given a budgetary refund on their recruitment costs as a reward for their efforts. The new starter is then placed on a special programme to equip them with the necessary IT skills and knowledge.
Dedicoat raised concerns that Europe is still not producing enough science graduates, which he said would stall the continent's productivity efforts if left unaddressed. The situation is being compounded by a shortage of women entering the industry, he said.
He was also keen to emphasise the productivity the internet can bring to society, and to challenge the perceptions that the internet stymies human interaction.
Dedicoat predicted that the second generation of the internet, revolving around social networking, would be "much more impactful" than the first generation. However, he added that businesses were hindered by a lack of productivity-enhancing Web 2.0 applications, possibly because of an absence of a proven return-on-investment, or because of scepticism.