Women Returners in the UK IT Industry
Niki Panteli (University of Bath, UK), Despina Cochliou (University of Bath, UK) and Evangelia Baralou (University of Stirling, UK)
Copyright: © 2006
IT is a sector that incorporates the newest industries, consisting mainly of young firms and relatively freshly constituted forms of working practices. Despite this, several studies exist to-date that show that opportunities are limited for those women who aspire to have a career in IT. Recent research in the UK has revealed that between 1999 and 2003 the proportion of women in the UK IT workforce fell by almost 50%, from 21% to 12.5%, following steady growth (Platman & Taylor, 2004). The focus of the article is to examine a specific group of female IT staff: women returners. The work presented here explores the factors that often constrain women returners to the IT industry and discusses the findings in relation to the characteristics of the industry; it is part of a bigger study that looks at advancing women in high-tech industries1. If women are not found in positions of influence in the IT industry, one of the most growing industries, then what image is being given to prospective students, their parents and careers advisers? What influence will women have on the future developments within the discipline, hence on the industry itself?