Former e-minister Patricia Hewitt, now Trade and Industry Secretary, said today [Monday] that the IT industry needs more women workers and less net nerds.
She said the government would next year unveil plans to end the under-representation of women in the industry. Currently, just 22 per cent of IT staff are female - down from 29 per cent in 1994.
Hewitt said the government's initiative would get more schoolgirls using IT in school, and that it would make IT more of a first career choice for young women.
She said the government would also work with business to improve how they recruit and retain women in IT roles, and offer advice about IT to women who are unemployed, returning to work after a career break or looking to change career.
She said: "I want to see more women in interesting, well-paid jobs and IT is a great way to get there. Female IT graduates earn about £3000 more than other female graduates do.
"In the past five years, the number of IT jobs has grown by a massive 50 per cent, compared to an eight per cent growth in the general workforce, creating 336,000 more IT jobs in the process.
"We want to see more 'IT' girls and fewer net nerds in our computing industries."
However, the problem is nothing new. Indeed, the government's track record on boosting IT's appeal to women is dismal. The proportion of women among IT staff has continued to fall, leaving the UK lagging way behind the US, Canada and Eire.
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