Female IT workforce shrinks again

Four-year decline means just one in six UK IT professionals is female

The proportion of women in IT continues to decrease, meaning that now just one in six IT professionals is female.

The figures, which come from research sponsored by the government's Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), show that just 16 percent of IT workers are women, down from 19 percent four years ago.

"The continuing drop in the number of women in the IT industry continues to have serious and far-reaching implications for the UK economy," said Carrie Hartnell, private sector programme manager for Intellect, the trade association. "There are good initiatives, but these have clearly not been persuasive enough or resulted in the necessary improvements."

But the headline figures mask a considerable variance between IT disciplines. Although just 12 percent of IT strategy/planning professionals are female, women account for 61 percent of database assistants. One in five ICT managers is female.

Separate research released in October by recruitment agency Harvey Nash showed that among CIOs, just eight percent were women.

Intellect's previous work indicates that long hours and a "macho culture" may be deterring female workers. Several initiatives, such as Intellect's Women in IT Forum and the British Computing Society's Women's Forum have been established in recent months to try to redress the balance.