Gender gap in UK's IT contracting industry, says new report

Tuesday 16 June 2015

A new report has highlighted a significant gender disparity in the UK contracting industry. Digital recruitment agency The Candidate carried out the research, which showed there are fewer women working in the sector than men.

If skills shortages are to be avoided in the future and a great balance of gender equality achieved, more females will need to enter the field. A number of areas where gender gaps can be an issue were taken into consideration. These include pay and flexible working policies.

The report consisted of interviewing 150 digital businesses in the north of England and it was found that twice as many men were employed within these firms than women. Not only this, but male workers were found to be more likely to be in a management role than their female counterparts.

The difference between the genders in top roles equated to 156 per cent, with just 18 out 150 companies being managed by a woman. The breakdown of roles for females in the IT industry was found to be 27 per cent in social media or marketing; 18 per cent in public relations or communications; and 14 per cent in account management.

Such jobs are considered soft skills within the IT community, while men were seen to have more technical jobs. These included search engine optimisation and pay-per-click roles. Reasons for this are not entirely clear, but it has been suggested that women are not offered enough relevant training or given the same incentives to get a job in the industry in the first place.

Brian Matthews, managing partner at The Candidate, said: "In our report, we have outlined ways that we can change this to encourage more women into our thriving sector, such as implementing good flexible working schemes and closing crucial gender pay gaps. We also ask for education providers to be more encouraging when it comes to apprenticeships and work experience opportunities in digital.

"We hope that our report goes some way in unveiling some of the issues that might be holding back this sector that has such huge potential and that it has an influence on new initiatives such as the Northern Powerhouse, to make sure we are feeding the industry what it really needs."

The Candidate has therefore called upon the government, educational facilities and businesses to equip women with the IT skills they need to become a contractor. This is the only way that the situation can change in the future.

By Victoria McDonnell

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