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IT Recruitment and the Struggle With Diversity

August 11, 2015 by  
Filed under Diversity Recruiting

IT recruitment has long suffered from one key problem – gender diversity. Whilst even traditionally male dominated industries such as the medical, legal and political professions have made huge advances in both reaching female workers and offering them an equal chance of success over the past few decades, IT has effectively stalled, despite being a relatively new industry.

This isn’t to say that IT is the most unbalanced sector of work in terms of gender diversity. Proportionally, less women work in construction than work in IT – just 11% in construction in comparison to 18% in IT.

However jobs in information technology employ one in 18 people in the UK, and as women make up 46% of the overall workforce, its apparent that a significant imbalance remains. Furthermore, this was not always the case; many experts who have long experience in the field – such as Eileen Brown of ITPro, no stranger to the rarity of women in IT – can recall a time when the ratio of male to female workers in IT was largely equal.

“Mainframes were prevalent then, with an almost 50:50 split in male-female operators and programmers,” she said in an article about the diversity problem this year.

Whilst there are many factors involved in the IT sectors struggle to improve diversity, one is that during the early years of IT many women could expect to be paid far less simply due to their gender. They also faced limited career prospects due to the outdated stereotypes of the early 20th century, even where no explicit link can be established, these stereotypes have had a profound effect on diversity within the modern working world and IT is no exception.

Perceptions that IT is a ‘boys’ subject are almost self-perpetuating. Not only are the leading figures and the role models of computing, technology and software development all male but efforts to improve diversity are stymied by the relatively tiny proportion of women who even consider jobs in IT. Just 20% of those currently studying IT subjects are female and there is no certainty this group will commit to a career in the sector.

Across the IT recruitment sector, ongoing efforts are being made to encourage and support women in to considering and working in technology and information services. From the figures it is clear that this will remain a significant challenge for the near future, but many in the industry are positive that perceptions of the IT worker will change and that women will feel welcome in the sector.

Harvey Wiles is a freelance author writes articles on various topics. To learn more about IT Recruitment Agencies and IT Jobs he recommends you to visit

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