Women may be failing to advance in the IT profession because they are not networking as effectively as their male counterparts.
Research by E-Skills UK suggests that only 10% of women obtain their jobs by networking with other IT professionals, compared to 22% of men. This may explain the declining proportion of women in the IT profession.
Although women form 45% of the UK workforce overall, they represent only 17% of workers in the IT sector, the research reveals.
"Networking is a good way to build relationships and knowledge in business and may be a route to securing a new job," said E-Skills.
"This data appears to suggest that women in the IT sector could be missing out on roles secured through networking alone, but that should be considered in the context that many organisations have excellent programmes in place to encourage and support diversity - including structured recruitment programmes."
Nearly 20% of women who choose a career in IT work part-time, compared to 3% of male workers. However, this is significantly below the 45% average for women across the entire workforce.
There is little difference in educational qualifications between men and women, with 10% of women working in IT having IT-related degrees, compared to 12% of men.
Despite this, the research shows that women are still earning less than than their male counterparts in like-for-like work.