'Sobering' diversity figures in IT must improve, says BCS

Women make up just 17% of tech workforce, figures show

The extent of IT's diversity issues has been laid bare by BCS, the chartered institute for IT, in a report detailing the lack of gender and ethnic variety in tech and the corresponding low pay some minorities earn.

Just 17% of IT specialists in 2016 were women, BCS's Diversity in IT 2017 report, published last week, found. The percentage of women in IT roles didn't rise above 20% in any UK region, according to the report's analysis of ONS Quarterly Labour Force Survey data.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Only 10% of women in tech worked as IT directors, the organisation's analysis found, with the percentage falling to 9% for IT engineering roles. The highest proportion of female workers, at 25%, was found in tech project and programme manager roles.

Women earned on average 11% less than their male counterparts in tech roles over 2016, the report found, taking home 660 a week compared to 780.

Prospects for ethnic minorities and older workers looked little better, with the report finding that disabled IT workers made up 8% of IT roles, compared to 12% of UK jobs overall.

Non-white workers filled 17% of IT positions, compared to 12% overall, but while they filled almost one-third of IT roles in London, that fell to 8% in Yorkshire/Humberside.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Non-white IT workers were more than twice as likely to be in part-time employment compared to white employees, but had higher wages than white IT staff, at an average 850 per week.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Disabled IT workers earned 660 per week, compared to the 780 average for non-disabled IT workers.

Dr Sue Black OBE, who founded BCSWomen at the turn of the century, said: "You could say that this report paints a dismal picture in terms of diversity and women in tech, we are nowhere near 50/50 male to female in the industry.

"But I believe that we are at a tipping point of a revolution in technology and also in awareness of the importance of diversity. I've seen massive change over the last few years in attitudes towards diversity in tech.

"From being asked when setting up BCSWomen in 2001: 'Why are you ghettoising yourself?' I now regularly get asked: 'How can we encourage more women to work in our tech department?'"

The report didn't make any recommendations, but admitted that "whatever actions that have been taken so far to instigate change, simply aren't having the marked and imperative change that we need".

Advertisement - Article continues below

It said that minorities must make the case for change to the men running most organisations, from recruiting to recognising and promoting non-white, non-male staff.

"Whichever way we look at it, these figures make for sobering and depressing reading," wrote Deloitte's public sector lead and vice-chair, Rebecca George OBE, whi is also the VP of BCS's organisation and employers board.

She added: "BCS is calling for each and every one of us to make a simple pledge to take one action to make that difference.

"Treating everyone with respect and improving diversity in our sector is surely a key element of making IT good for society. In 2017 it seems incredible that this is still an issue to be tackled, but it is, and that's why everyone has to realise that they have a responsibility in changing this - for the better."

Featured Resources

The case for a marketing content hub

Transform your digital marketing to deliver customer expectations

Download now

Fast, flexible and compliant e-signatures for global businesses

Be at the forefront of digital transformation with electronic signatures

Download now

Why CEOS should care about the move to SAP S/4HANA

And how they can accelerate business value

Download now

IT faces new security challenges in the wake of COVID-19

Beat the crisis by learning how to secure your network

Download now


Business strategy

Is it time to get rid of women in tech?

6 Mar 2020
Careers & training

Women earn a fifth less than men in tech industry, PwC reports

5 Mar 2020
Business strategy

How women in cloud are challenging the narrative

5 Mar 2020
Careers & training

Proportion of women in tech roles ‘flatlining’

5 Dec 2019

Most Popular

Network & Internet

Intel releases Wi-Fi and Bluetooth driver updates for Windows 10

26 May 2020
Server & storage

Dell EMC PowerEdge R7525 review: An EPYC core density to make Intel weep

26 May 2020
Microsoft Windows

Microsoft's latest Windows 10 update is causing yet more issues

26 May 2020