CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Tech Industry

Why women leave IT in the U.K.

Macho culture and long hours drive women out of IT culture in the U.K., according to recent research.

    Long hours and a macho culture are driving women out of the IT profession, according to research from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and IT trade body Intellect.

    The "Women in IT" industry study was commissioned on the back of figures from the Office of National Statistics showing a 6 percent decline in the number of women employed in the IT industry between 1997 and 2005.

    Many of the women said they had to work harder than male colleagues to achieve success and break through the glass ceiling. More than half of the 42 women surveyed had already left the IT industry and another 13 said they were thinking of leaving. Most of the women were 45 or older and in senior roles as software developers, programmers and analysts for IT consultants, managers and directors.

    The women all said the work-life balance, the "old boy" male-dominated environment and industry culture are the core reasons why the IT sector is unattractive to women. The research found few opportunities for part-time work in IT and many of the women said they had to work harder than male colleagues to achieve success and break through the glass ceiling.

    The report concluded that the first priority in making the sector more attractive for women is to retain those working in it now to act as role models and mentors.

    John Higgins, director general at Intellect, said in a statement: "The UK IT industry is world-leading software developers, programmers and analysts for IT consultants, managers and directors but it won't stay that way for long if we continue to hemorrhage valuable, skilled women professionals from the sector. We must take action to ensure that we are doing all that we can to recruit, motivate and retain women within our industry."

    Andy McCue of Silicon.com reported from London.