Is discrimination on grounds of age, sex or race on the rise in IT?
The Big Question is an initiative between Computer Weekly and recruitment consultancy PSD. Each week we put the Big Question to top IT professionals to get their take on a current talking point.
The percentage of firms reporting IT skills gaps increased in the first quarter of the year, according to E-Skills UK's latest ICT Inquiry. But is discrimination in the IT industry discouraging potential recruits, or causing some high-quality candidates to be rejected?
Most IT professionals polled for this week's Big Question felt confident that discrimination was not a major problem in the industry, though 19% were concerned at what they saw and warned there was little room for complacency.
In middle-ranking jobs, most respondents felt there was a mix of nationalities of different ages. However, many respondents highlighted that women were still under-represented in IT, and this was more marked in management roles.
Although few of the respondents said they had experienced or witnessed explicit racism, several commented that ethnic minority groups were under-represented in the UK IT industry as a whole, and in IT management in particular.
Ageism was a concern for many IT professionals. One senior IT professional said it was strange that IT was still seen by many as a young person's industry, given that mainstream adoption of technology has been around for decades.
"But I do see a slow erosion of this attitude," he added. "Legislation and recognised industry qualifications such as those promoted by the BCS can only help to ensure we keep our elder statesmen and women, with their wealth of industry experience, within the industry."
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