IT Staffing - Women a Clear Minority in Europe's IT 'Boys Club'

Mar 29, 2010

David Needle

Women in IT is not quite an oxymoron in Europe, but not enough is being done to encourage more women to enter the field, according to a survey just released by the The IT Job Board, a UK IT recruitment site. Only about a third (35 percent) of IT staff in Europe are women, according to the survey.

There are also significant pockets of unhappiness, based on the responses, with the current state of affairs. The survey found that 49 percent of women believe that working benefits and conditions in IT could be improved, and although there has been an increase in the number of women working in IT, 51 percent of women in the UK and 49 percent of women in Holland believe that working conditions are not equal for men and women. Over in Belgium, some 66 percent of women in the survey said they felt working conditions favored their male colleagues.

In the UK, the phrase "boys club" was given by survey respondents on several occasions, according to a release by IT Job Board, "and it is clear that many women find it hard being a female in such a male-dominated environment," the company said.

Ninety percent (90 percent) of women across Europe believe that women do IT jobs just as well as their male counterparts and 81 percent of women polled believe that the industry should do more to encourage a mix of male and female employees in IT.

"While the number of women in IT continues to grow, it seems that there still isn't a level playing field. The dynamic needs to change in order to attract and nurture women to fulfill their potential," Alex Farrell, managing director of The IT Job Board, said in a statement. "There is still a deep rooted 'club for the boys' that will probably always exist. The question is whether this 'club' has a future for the masses."

Twenty percent (20 percent) of women surveyed in the UK said it was not important to have a mix of men and women working in the IT industry.

IT staffing on the rise?

The news comes at a time when struggling economies throughout Europe as well as the U.S. have tended to restrain IT hiring and projects in general. But earlier this month, another set of survey results had some good news on the hiring front.

According to the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report, 9 percent of technology executives said they planned to hire additional IT staff while 4 percent anticipate personnel reductions. The net 5 percent increase is up two points from the first quarter's forecast and three points higher than the year-ago projection.

Almost 80 percent of technology executives in the report said they are confident in their companies' prospects for growth in the second quarter.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

Tags: IT jobs, EU, IT staffing, Women in IT, diversity,

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