Rectifying a Costly Mistake: Is the UK IT Sector Finally Understanding the True Value of Female Contractors?
In terms of modern industry sectors, few have been as male-dominated as the world of information technology. Since becoming a permanent part of the UK’s economic landscape in the 1980s, IT has consistently failed to evolve into a viable career choice for women. Out of the UK’s current IT workforce of around £1.1 million, only 16% are female.
The societal, and economic, consequences of the persistent mis-management in attracting women to careers in IT are dire. Recent research revealed that UK school and education policies, as well as the wider IT industry, are failing to bring more girls into contact with A-level IT studies. By extension, these subsequent generations of young women aren’t entering into the UK university system to continue information technology studies. Although estimates vary, some industry insiders cite a figure of £2.6 billion as the yearly cost to the IT sector in not bringing more female talent into the industry in a professional capacity.
However, there are positive signs emerging that women are finally starting to play a more integral role in UK IT. Jessica Evans, Senior Account Manager at Umbrella.co.uk believes that certain industry insights reveal the increasingly influential role of UK women play in IT.
“Firstly, from a contractor perspective, things are very interesting indeed. Over the last decade, the number of women working as self-employed contractors in IT has risen by over 100%. This strong sense of entrepreneurial spirit, married to an ability to integrate successfully into office spaces still dominated by male counterparts, are aspects of female IT contractor performance alluded to in recent research of the wider performance of IT departments nationwide.”
“Something like 90% of respondents cited the positive impact female staff have in terms of bringing innovative thinking and improving communication across departments. When you look at how traditionally girls outperform boys educationally – a truism in IT as much as most other subjects – it is no surprise to see IT firms opening up their recruitment approaches to embrace a more female-friendly future.”
“So although there is such a long way to go – not least in reaching payment parity between men and women – there are emergent trends indicating the vital role of women in UK IT infrastructure. Over the coming years we can hope, and expect, to see more women work as contractors into the IT sector, with financial benefits for the industry and those contractors as well as pay raises and opportunities open up.”
Umbrella.co.uk is a trading name of Umbrella-Company Ltd. Umbrella-Company Ltd is APSCo accredited, Professional Passport approved and are silver business partners with the Institute of Recruiters (IOR). For further information please contact umbrella.co.uk on 0800 121 6513.