The ability of the UK to compete economically will be threatened if
companies fail to increase the proportion of women employees within the
workforce, a report released today finds.
The study by the Women in IT Champions Group, 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 and IT-related
Although 36 per cent 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.
Women are leaving not only to have children, but doing so later in their
careers meaning that few 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
Rebecca George, chairwoman of Women in IT Champions Group, which published
the study at the third annual Women in IT conference in London, said:
"Successful workforce diversity initiatives are a key focus for many
companies. But such initiatives must be matched by everyday practices that
support a flexible work environment that is attractive to working women."