The lack of women in ICT roles at tech firms is costing the European economy €9bn in lost revenue, according to a report from the European Commission (EC).
The EC's Women active in the ICT sector report found that of every 1,000 women in the EU with a degree, only 29 have a specialisation in ICT, compared with 95 for men, and only four in 1,000 will work in the ICT sector. Furthermore, women are far more likely to leave the sector mid-career.
Women also struggle to reach the top roles in firms in the sector. Only 19.2 percent of ICT workers said they had a female superior, while 45.2 percent of non-ICT workers said they have a female boss.
The EC research argued that more women in ICT would mean better performance for companies, as it claimed firms that included women in higher positions “achieve a 35 percent higher return on equity and 34 percent better total return to shareholders” when compared with other firms.
The EC based the €9bn saving on the assumption that if employment for women in ICT rose by 115,000 roles, an average of €78,000 per female worker would be generated in increased productivity.
EC vice president for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, said the findings proved something must be done to improve the image of ICT for future generations of girls in order to entice them to the sector.
"We now know, beyond doubt, that more women in a business mean a healthier business. It is high time the IT sector realised this and allowed women a chance to help the sector and Europe's economy benefit from their enormous potential,” she said.
Moves to encourage more women into the ICT workplace are gaining traction. V3 recently reported on the launch of the Code First: Girls coding academy, which teaches young women coding and general technology skills, as digital requirements are becoming a larger part of modern jobs.
Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal.