There is a significant gap between the number of skilled male contractors working in the IT industry and their female counterparts, according to a new report.
Figures published by BCS: The Chartered Institute for IT and e-skills UK show many more women are needed in the sector, with only one in five of the 753,000 people working in this field being female.
This is not just a prevalent problem in Britain though, as the report discovered more work needs to be done throughout Europe to promote the sector to females and encourage more to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at school, despite girls generally performing better than boys in these lessons.
However, females only account for 6.5 per cent of all students taking an A-level in computing.
Chief executive officer of e-skills UK Karen Price commented: "Women have a significant contribution to make to the IT sector and it is vital for the economy that we ensure they have the opportunity.
"Employers care deeply about the gender imbalance and are committed to taking action to improve it. This joint report provides the evidence we need to face the problem head on and to develop hard-hitting and effective interventions to solve it."
Significant pay inequalities were also found between the genders, with the median gross weekly rate for females coming in at £640, which is around £120 or 16 per cent less than that for males working in the industry, as they typically earn £760 for the same period.
Looking at specific roles within the sector, women are more likely to be in technician or engineer jobs than men (34 per cent compared to 20 per cent), but tend not to take on the most professional or development-related positions as much as their male counterparts do (46 per cent in contrast to 57 per cent).
Over the last ten years, the number of women in self-employment in IT has more than doubled, although only 18 per cent work part-time, which is a significantly lower figure than that for other occupations.