IT women still face "glass ceiling"

A survey of women in IT has shown that many believe they are held back by their gender, with male coworkers' careers progressing more quickly.

Women in IT still feel they face a "glass ceiling" in career progression, according to a new survey.

The research, conducted by IT recruiters GCS, who are sponsoring the British Computer Society's (BCS) Women in IT Award, found that 56 per cent of respondents believe their careers are held back because of their gender.

Some 60 per cent of female IT workers surveyed said they believed they would have to leave their current firm in order to get promoted. Nearly half said a male colleague with the same skills had been promoted over them, while 41 per cent said their last pay rise was not on par with their male co-workers.

Other findings backed those beliefs up. A third of women surveyed said there wasn't a single woman in a senior position at their firm.

As well, 83 per cent of women surveyed said they had a male line manager, while 88 per cent said more than two-thirds of their colleagues are male.

"The results of this research indicate that the IT industry is struggling to pull itself out of the vicious circle created by its male-dominated heritage," said Chris Bartlett, managing director of GCS. "We believe that the promotion and encouragement of women in IT is good for the sector, as mixed gender workforces not only enable a greater natural balance, they also promote a better working life for staff."

But women in the survey said that other women were put off the IT sector because it was male dominated, dull and had a geeky reputation.

Bartlett said that encouraging women into IT could help battle the skills gap. "With demand for IT staff reaching unparalleled levels across Europe, it is essential that more women are encouraged to follow careers in IT, in order that the deficit is addressed," he said.

A study earlier this year showed that getting a first job in IT was the hardest for women.

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