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Employers need to get women into IT jobs

With female students consistently gaining high marks in their A-Level and degree level IT courses, the failure to recruit women means businesses are cutting themselves off from talent, the British Computer Society said.

Commenting on a new survey by the BCS, e-skills and Intellect, Jan Peters, manager of the BCS Women's Forum, expressed disappointment that women still account for only one in every five IT workers.

A three-pronged change by businesses, the government, and schools and universities needed to take place, she said, in order to ensure women entered the IT jobs market and could access the right jobs for a fair salary.

The 'Women in IT Scorecard' found that women taking ICT courses scored on average higher marks at any level than their male counterparts. The difference was particularly marked at A-level, with 63 percent of women scoring an A to C grade compared to 52 percent of men.

But when women entered IT jobs, they also suffered much lower pay. The salary gap between male and female professionals was 14 percent for those aged 16 to 29, and an astonishing 30 percent for women aged 40 to 49.

Peters told Computerworld UK: "Employers have a great resource available to them - all the smart and talented women in IT - but they're not using it." There also needed to be more women taking bachelors and masters degrees in IT, and "computing needs to feature more prominently in government technology and maths initiatives", she said.

The BCS hosts the W-Tech forum, an event for women in technology, and has a strategy meeting planned with 40 individuals from business, education and government to help devise a plan for improving the situation.

Karen Price, chief executive at IT skills council e-skills UK, added: "The gender imbalance in IT is a deep and persistent issue that cannot be put right by one organisation alone. We must work together; employers, government and education all have an important role to play."

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