Digital Gender Divide: Just 1 in 6 IT professionals in the UK are female

Research from Tessian and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEB) suggests that only 1 in 6 IT professions in the UK are femal

by Patrick Sullivan, Political Editor on 22 April 2020 14:57

Women-in-tech

Just one in six (17 per cent) of IT professionals in the UK are female, according to research analysed by the Centre for Economics and Business Resources (CEBR) and commissioned by Tessian, the human layer security company.

Out of 608,000, just 103,360 were reportedly female. The research, which was analysed from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, also found that only 17 per cent of IT Directors (sample size: 30,000), and 29 per cent of IT technicians (sample size: 225,000) were female.

Shockingly, just over one in 20 IT engineers are female – this is the occupation with the lowest recorded share of women, at just 7 per cent. Finally, just one quarter (25 per cent) of the cyber security sector is made up by women.

The research suggests this low percentage of female IT professionals traces back to fewer women studying STEM subjects in schools. Just one in five computer science graduates in the UK are women. For comparison, 62 per cent of all graduates from non-science subject areas are female, while 63 per cent of law students are female. Furthermore, just over one in 10 computing A-levels were achieved by female students in the summer of 2019, compared to 78 per cent of English Literature A-Levels.

A report from Tessian last month revealed further reasons why few women were exploring roles in technology. Specifically focused on cybersecurity, Tessian found that lack of awareness, clear development paths and roles models, as well as inaccurate media representations of the industry, were some of the main reasons women weren’t considering a career in the industry.

However, Tessian found that addressing the gender gap and increasing the number of women working in cybersecurity could boost the UK economy by £12.6 billion – a huge incentive to encourage more women to pursue a career in tech, IT or cybersecurity.

Tim Sadler, CEO for Tessian told The Commentator: “These figures are solid proof that gender disparity is still a prevalent problem which affect the IT, computing and cybersecurity industries - from education all the way to industry practice. “Moving forward we must begin to see closer collaboration between our education institutions and industry, allowing businesses to nurture, offer opportunity and educate female candidates, regardless of whether they are still in school, recently graduated, or even just looking to progress their careers.

Sadler continued, “As we know, the UK is afflicted with a digital skills gap which has been growing steadily and impacting business operations since the early 2000s – what better way of plugging this gap by engaging with female candidates, encouraging more innovation and generating as yet untapped excitement for IT in future generations?”

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