Europe Needs More Female Techies

To make up a projected shortfall of 300,000 IT workers by 2010, the European Commission advises boosting the number of women undertaking tech studies

The tech and telecoms industry needs to get more women on board or risk confronting a shortfall of 300,000 IT workers in 2010, according to the European Commission.

The Commission is hoping to influence more girls still in compulsory education to consider pursuing a career in IT, in an effort to keep the tech workforce on track.

Despite growth in the number of students across Europe studying ICT related subjects, the EC is pushing for more techies in universities - currently 2.3 per cent of all students study IT - to keep Europe up to speed with its industrial rivals, such as the US, where five per cent of graduates are techies, and South Korea, where the figure is six per cent.

Getting more women into IT, says the EC, is the answer. In 2006 a mere 22 per cent of those undertaking tech studies were women.

At the top of the corporate ladder, the picture is even bleaker. In 66 per cent of telecoms companies, there are no women on the board and in 14 major IT companies the figure is less than 10 per cent.

UK IT body Intellect has also warned recently that women are deserting IT, prompted by the long hours and macho culture. The group said only 16 per cent of tech workers are women and even that meagre number is a drop from 18 per cent a couple of years ago.

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