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Could women solve the IT contractor shortage?

There is an IT skills shortage in the UK and, in July, for the first time in 2014, this shortage was found to be more severe among contractors than permanent employees. With so few women in the IT sector, there is a feeling in some companies that half of their potential workforce is missing, and it is thought that the skills shortage problem could be solved if only more female contractors could be found.

A survey carried out by the internet firm Nominet found that under a fifth of those currently working in the IT sector are women. If more women could be encouraged to enter the field, it is predicted this could boost the UK economy by around £2.6 billion a year.

The IT sector is known for its high levels of flexible working, with more and more professionals wanting to work as contractors, but the number of women contractors in IT is startlingly low. It is thought that the relative lack of girls studying IT subjects at A-level and beyond could be to blame, and this is unfortunate because just under 60 percent of IT businesspeople say they would prefer to have more women on their workforces.

More companies are now actively promoting IT jobs for females, and some are visiting educational establishments to reach out to girls and younger women. At the moment, only nine percent of girls studying IT go on to pursue careers in the industry, but the IT sector wants to attract more women contractors, together with the communication skills and new ideas that they are expected to bring.

If the recruitment campaign is successful, it should help to address the growing problem of core IT skills becoming scarce, which seems to have become more prevalent among contractors.

Posted by Louise
September 10, 2014
Features

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