Percentage of women working in IT has halved over the last 20 years


The percentage of women working in IT has declined over the past 20 years despite efforts to encourage more women into careers in STEM. That is according to an analysis of working trends by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

According to a joint study by the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) and the Skills Task Force, women made up a third of the information and communication technology (ICT) workforce two decades ago. At that time, it was noted that this figure was declining, with females representing only 20% of students on IT-related university courses in 1999.

In the same year, a study of research funding, conducted by Swedish Medical Research Council (MRC), found that females working on science, engineering and technology (SET) projects had to be about 2.2 times more productive than their male counterparts to be as successful in securing financial support.

Today, according to community interest company, Wise, the amount of women working in IT stands at 16%, representing a 1% drop since 2017. While the number of females in the sector is increasing, the number of men joining is also rising, but at a more rapid pace.

Latest figures from 2019’s A-level results also revealed that computing is the only STEM subject where boys continue to dominate, with just 13% of the 11,124 A level entries coming from girls.

Commenting on the analysis, Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, said: “It’s shocking that the percentage of women working in IT is actually falling. While it’s encouraging that employers, universities and schools are acknowledging the dearth of female professionals in STEM, and agreeing that more must be done, it is still a shame to see that female talent was undervalued and is still underrepresented in the technical disciplines today.”

 “To increase the presence of women in STEM, we must continue teaching school children about the exciting opportunities available to both genders and employers must have inclusive policies in place such as flexi hours, part-time and remote working. This will not only help create greater equality, but also a sector more diverse in skills and aptitudes.”

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