The IT industry is losing more women than it recruits. The imbalance of
women within the workforce poses a threat to UK competitiveness unless IT
companies address the issue, especially through training, found the Women in IT
conference, backed by e-skills UK.
Key findings of the Women in IT Champions Group report Achieving Workforce
Diversity in the E-business on Demand Era, released at the event, found women
are leaving IT when they become mothers. They are also quitting later in their
careers – meaning few are fulfilling their potential career progression, and
that women are under-represented at senior levels.
Part of the debate within the Champions group centred on the role training
and development can play in helping tackle retention issues. Offering more
flexible forms of training, improving access to training and supporting women
were methods suggested.
Trainers could help identify suitable role models and facilitate mentoring
as an important part of women’s career development, noted the group.
Lance Williams, HR director of EDS, a member of the champions group, said
the industry needs to rethink its training and development practices.
"Sometimes organisations are guilty of limiting women’s access to
training in certain areas," he said. "The issue about developing
training for women moving into senior roles needs to be addressed to ensure we
give equal opportunity of access."
EDS is making extensive use of e-learning to provide flexibility because it
recognises a common reason for women leaving is the inability to strike the
right work-life balance.
By Elaine Essery