Eight in 10 IT professionals (79%) feel they would benefit from having more women in IT roles, according to a survey from BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
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According to the survey from BCSWomen, only 5% do not believe the industry would benefit from more females in IT roles.
The survey coincides with the launch of a month-long campaign by BCSWomen to demonstrate the range of roles that are open to young women considering joining the tech industry.
Those who have signed up to support the campaign include Cary Marsh, chief executive of Mydeo; IT entrepreneur Stephanie Shirley; Dame Wendy Hall, director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton; Maggie Philbin, chief executive of TeenTech; and author Kate Russell.
The women taking part in our campaign share this view and, through their blogs and video interviews, hope to inspire young females to follow in their footsteps.
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The survey asked, "What, if anything, do you believe should be done to encourage more women to work in IT?" The top answer was, "More encouragement in schools and universities."
Gillian Arnold, chair of BCSWomen, said: “The lack of women entering the profession is a very real threat for the industry and for UK plc. We need to support UK employers which struggle to find IT skills for their organisations, and we believe that ignoring 50% of the potential workforce because of their gender is ludicrous.
“It’s vital that we reach out to more young women to encourage them to see what an amazing career IT offers and to build the pipeline of skills in the industry. With a diverse mix in the working population, the UK IT sector can capitalise on the promise of additional profits and innovation that diversity can bring.”
Arnold said the problem can be split into two main issues; attracting young women into the profession directly from study and encouraging women returning to work following a career break to consider IT as an option. According to the survey, just over half of those questioned (53%) think it is difficult for women to return to a job in IT following a career break.
It’s vital that we reach out to more young women to encourage them to see what an amazing career IT offers
Gillian Arnold, BCSWomen
With the new computing curriculum due to launch in September, BCSWomen hopes this will kick-start a renewed interested in the subject among young people.
“The new computing curriculum will open young people’s eyes to the excitement and creativity of computing. We would encourage parents and all children, but especially girls, to ensure that they take full advantage of the new curriculum and study computing to GCSE level, which will give them a real advantage in years to come, keeping their options open for future careers,” added Arnold.
Interviews and blogs from the BCS Women in IT Campaign will feature daily on www.bcs.org.