IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How to bridge the IT gender gap

A new National Skills Forum report hopes to help bridge the gender gap and bring more women into male-dominated places of work.

The National Skills Forum (NSF) has called on industry to find new ways of encouraging women into science, engineering and IT roles.

A report published today by the NSF highlighted that such areas suffer a shortage of workers, which could be made up by increasing the number of women taking on such roles. Women make up about 17 per cent of the IT workforce.

The NSF said women need to be better encouraged to pursue careers that are generally seen to be male professions. This can be achieved by simply trying to change opinions of IT or science as "male professions."

"We want to get the clear message across that the gender skills gap exists and that it's damaging both to women and the economy," said the report's co-chair Dame Ruth Silver, in a statement.

She called on teachers, government and journalists as well as employers to help bridge the gap. "We have to create a climate in which women can develop real employment-relevant skills; this means overcoming negative attitudes to women in science and technology whether that's in the classroom or on TV," Silver added.

The NSF report touched on the glass ceiling faced by women who are interested in acquiring new skills. Women with children who want to return to work, and those in their 40s who are returning to work, need some sort of training to make themselves marketable to prospective employers, it claimed.

The UK's "long hours" culture needs to be altered to make it possible for women to be able to freely develop their skills by making it an easier transition for them to a new career. Flexible working arrangements would need to be put into place to accommodate for caring commitments before career commitments - for both men and women.

Indeed, the recent increase in maternity leave given to mothers in the workplace has not yet been extended to fathers. This makes women the more likely candidate to be absent from work over men, further exacerbating the whole issue. The government is planning to make leave transferable in the future so that a mother's leave can also be utilised by a father, but research suggests even that is not enough to boost the number of women in the workplace.

Click here to read how women are making their way in the IT workforce.

Featured Resources

The state of Salesforce: Future of business

Three articles that look forward into the changing state of Salesforce and the future of business

Free Download

The mighty struggle to migrate SAP to the cloud may be over

A simplified and unified approach to delivering Enterprise Transformation in the cloud

Free Download

The business value of the transformative mainframe

Modernising on the mainframe

Free Download

The Total Economic Impact™ Of IBM FlashSystem

Cost savings and business benefits enabled by FlashSystem

Free Download

Most Popular

Cyber attack on software supplier causes "major outage" across the NHS
cyber attacks

Cyber attack on software supplier causes "major outage" across the NHS

8 Aug 2022
Why convenience is the biggest threat to your security
Sponsored

Why convenience is the biggest threat to your security

8 Aug 2022
How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

29 Jul 2022