Women could be dissuaded from careers in IT due to perceptions of a male dominated industry, according to the latest data by CWJobs.co.uk.

Almost two thirds of IT professionals felt that the IT industry was overtly less attractive to women (63%), who are being put off by a variety of factors. 70% of respondents felt that stereotypical visions of IT as a male dominated job might be deterring women. More than half of respondents also felt IT can sometimes be considered a “geeky” career choice (63%), further detracting females from entering the sector.

Professionals felt that the fields of IT most lacking in women were roles in engineering (87%) and security (90%), however, they saw less of a gap in more generalised job titles, with 60% stating that they believe women were more drawn to careers in data analysis and management.

Concerns were reflected by 77% of IT professionals, who stated that they felt a need for more women within the IT industry. Despite the trepidation about low numbers of female IT professionals, individuals within the industry stated they would be against a quota being introduced, with 71% detailing they wouldn’t like to see positive discrimination in the form of a minimum number of employed women.

The lack of women within the sector has motivated a number of organisations, such as the BCSWomen Group, to try to address concerns over the lack of representation from women within the sector; 64% of IT professionals believe that there is still not enough currently being done to change this.

BCSWomen Group Founder, Dr. Sue Black, said: “Showcasing female role models, both within organisations and in the public domain, helps to highlight the women currently working in computing. Also, initiatives that practically demonstrate how to use computing as a tool can empower women and help them to see the potential of computing in their area of interest. Talent spotting and mentoring within organisations can also work well to improve the numbers of women moving up into more senior and high profile positions.

“To make a difference quickly though, I would argue for a quota or for getting organisations to work together to leverage capability, reach and impact.”

Richard Nott, CWJobs Website Director, stated: “If Britain wants to promote it’s own growth as a leader in the global IT industry, we need to ensure we are actively encouraging diversity within the sector. The IT industry needs to work to change its image and encourage more women into the sector. IT is a multi-faceted industry, and it’s continual and extraordinary growth means opportunities are constantly arising for professionals of both genders. We need to harness these opportunities, and encourage women to investigate these career choices further”.