The job situation in general may be depressed but the Internet networking sector is undermanned or, more accurately under-womanned, said a report from analyst IDC.
Research sponsored by Cisco shows networking vacancies increasing. They are expected to top 500,000 in Western Europe by 2004. Although the number of women ITers is expected to double over this period, they will still only represent 7.3% of the workforce.
IDC's research shows that in countries where projects promoting women as networking specialists have been launched their numbers are increasing. In France 9% of the networking professionals are women, compared to only 6.5% in the UK.
Mike Couzens, Cisco's managing director for communications and training, said network management needs to shake off its "nerdy" image and make the experience more attractive both to women joining the industry and to trained staff returning to work. "There are painfully few female role models in the industry," he said, "but, even with role models, more needs to be done to raise awareness and publicity to attract women to apply. Networking should have a wider appeal because it is not a dirty, blue-collar job - in fact, it's a no-collar job."