IT employers fail to recruit and retain women

The ability of the UK to compete will be threatened if
companies fail to address the balance of women employees within the workforce,
a report released today finds.

The study by the Women in IT Champions Group published at the
third annual Women in IT conference, London finds that the lack of women at
senior positions is particularly marked.

Based on initial research of the champions group member
companies, the report, ‘Achieving workforce diversity in the e-business on demand
era’, also shows that retaining women is a critical issue within IT companies
and IT-related careers. 

Although 36 percent of new hires in the first quarter of
2002 were women, in the same period they accounted for 46 per cent per cent of
all leavers.  

A key finding is that women are leaving IT jobs not only to
have children but also later on in their careers meaning that few women are
fulfilling their potential progression up the career ladder, resulting in an
under-representation of women at senior levels. 

The report calls for further research by government and
academic bodies into the issue of workforce retention and the promotion of a
flexible, balanced business culture.

Rebecca George, chair of Women in IT Champions Group, said:
"Successful workforce diversity initiatives are a key focus for many
companies – and much progress has been made in this area. 

“But such initiatives must be matched by everyday practices
that support a flexible work environment that is attractive to working
women.  If companies are serious about wanting more senior women then
their senior executives need to ‘walk the talk’ and put their programmes and
processes into practice themselves.”

By Ben Willmott

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