More professional part time IT jobs needed to retain women

Technology organisations should consider creating more professional part-time roles in order to retain the industry’s female talent.

According to Intellect, the number of females in the IT workforce fell by 63,000 between 2001 and 2009, whereas the number of men fell by just 23,000.

A large number of women leave the technology sector due to family commitments, but the UK cannot afford to keep losing all this talent if it wants to remain competitive. We very rarely see part time IT roles for professional or managerial level work advertised on our job board. I believe this lack of part time positions is one of the contributing factors to many talented women leaving the technology industry – they need more flexibility and that can’t always be found.

Many employers would consider taking on someone on a part-time basis but most wouldn’t have even thought about this option. Firms usually get sign off a full time position so that’s what gets advertised but I would always encourage women (and men) to apply for roles that interest them – once invited to interview, ask if they might consider someone taking the position on a part time basis. The IT industry needs to seriously consider this issue if it wants to keep hold of its female talent.

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Maggie Berry runs Womenintechnology, a leading online job board and networking forum for women working in the technology profession in the UK. She has been involved since Womenintechnology's inception in the autumn of 2004 and manages all aspects of the Web site and the networking activities Womenintechnology organises.