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More than 10% of technology professionals worldwide work in an all-male environment, according to a survey by recruitment firm Harvey Nash.
The research also revealed that almost six in 10 technology professionals work in an environment where less than 20% of the workforce is made up of women.
In 2014 only 6.5% of A-Level ICT students were female, and in the previous year only 16% of IT specialists in the UK were women – and the numbers are not getting better.
“What traditional organisations need to do is urgently formulate positive strategies to compete effectively with the digital insurgents. That includes re-thinking their pay and employment proposition to the pool of high-tech talent,” said Harvey Nash Group CEO Albert Ellis.
In 2015 there has been an increase in the amount of headhunting occurring in the IT industry as the skills gap is making skilled IT workers increasingly hard to find.
More than half of software engineers reported being approached by recruiters for new jobs, while 62% of software developers stated they had been called by headhunters 10 or more times over the past year.
“For many companies, attracting and retaining high-tech staff has become their number one concern. While work-life balance is clearly a factor, what this report shows is how important pay and working on ground-breaking digital projects have now become as motivators for changing jobs,” Ellis said.
“We see the impact of this with larger companies citing so-called unfair advantages being given to hugely successful digital startups such as Uber and Airbnb. The reality is that highly talented technology staff aspire to work for startups, recognised disruptors and challenger brands, so rhetoric like this is self-defeating.”
Read more about the IT skills gap
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- A report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills suggests retailers will need to invest in upskilling to prevent a drop-off from older employees and appeal to the younger generation
Around 40% of technology employees stated they were headhunted for new positions in 2015, and ended up on higher pay than their previous job.
This in turn is causing IT salaries to rise as firms try to convince new employees to join, and 77% of IT professionals who have been headhunted cited the increased salary as the reason for switching firms.
In 2015 pay was the top motivator for staying in job, with work-life balance coming in second, and the opportunity to work on new and innovative projects at third.
The skills gap continues to worry the IT industry, and across the world the number of managers looking for tech talent who cite a shortage of qualified candidates rose from 51% in 2014 to 53% in 2015.
The industry’s reaction to the skills gap has been to compete with other firms for talent through higher pay, and as a result the traditional career path for technology professionals has shifted towards more flexible employment opportunities and a great drive for entrepreneurial behaviours, especially in women.