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By | Drew Cullen 21st January 2016 17:03

Women account for just one fifth of the EU’s 8m IT jobs

No, that's not a good thing

The European Union has totted up all the IT jobs in the region for 2014 and this is what it found: nearly eight million ICT pros employed in the 28 member states and more than 80 per cent are men. They are also well-educated, with more than half completing tertiary education.

Techies occupied just 3.7 per cent of all jobs - “a small but strategically important segment of employment”, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, said in a report today.

There is a wide variation between member countries, with IT accounting for 1.3 per cent of jobs in Greece and 6.7 per cent in Finland but five per cent in the UK.

Tech jobs require brainy people and there are not enough to go around. In the UK for example, 39 per cent of enterprises reported hard-to-fill vacancies for jobs requiring ICT specialist skills in 2014. Where are the women?

So we know why there are so few women in tech. Much fewer girls than boys study STEM (science, technology science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects at school, and the proportion is even lower in university.

But how do we quantify the gender and cultural bias - parents and peers as well as school - that funnels clever girls in Europe away from STEM and into softer, lower-paid careers, as dictated by their arts and humanities degrees.

And how can we overcome this? This is an important challenge and this is why governments everywhere are funding initiatives to inspire girls while they are young. Projects such as the UK’s Code First:Girls can sometimes come across as a bit dumb in their execution. But they are a start - and a good start at that. ®

Bootnote

Why do bureacrats in Europe insist on talking about "ICT"? Can they not understand how irritating this is? It's IT, damnit.

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