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UK Contractors: More female IT professionals could benefit the UK economy

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Female IT contractors will be interested to learn that a new report has found that more women in the IT sector could boost the UK economy by £2.6 billion per year. 

A new survey commissioned by internet company Nominet, has revealed that women currently make up less than one fifth of the IT workforce, however, if the gender gap was reduced and more women filled the UK’s IT skills shortage, the economy could benefit by an estimated £2.6 billion each year.

The report, which questioned just over 500 IT decision makers in UK business, found that 59% agree that their IT team would benefit from having a more gender-balanced workforce, while only seven per cent disagree. 

According to the findings, low female participation in IT education is a key factor in the workforce gender gap. Only a third of ICT A-level students and less than a tenth of Computer Studies A-Level students are female.

This trend continues with those at university level, with girls accounting for only 19% of students taking computer science degrees.

However, there are signs that the IT industry is increasingly recognising the importance of attracting more women. Almost a quarter of those surveyed said that their company is promoting IT roles expressly to women, and a fifth are visiting schools and universities specifically to speak with girls and young women. 

Nominet’s Director of HR Gill Crowther comments, “The digital economy is driving economic growth in the UK. Given the extent of the IT skills shortage, we can’t afford to only recruit from half the talent pool. It’s alarming to think that, if current trends continue, the IT gender gap will get bigger rather than smaller. 

“We need to attract more women into the technology industry at every level and this starts with encouraging girls at school and university to study IT subjects. The new curriculum coming into force in September offers a fantastic opportunity for girls to become engaged with more technical subjects as the study of computing – and coding – becomes compulsory for all schoolchildren.”

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