Diversity in public sector IT ‘must improve’ – Socitm

There is “a strong business case for widening access” for women in IT in local government, says the group

Posted 18 December 2017 by

Local authority IT managers need to be doing a lot more about getting women into IT, says public sector IT leadership body Socitm.
The group makes the claim in a new policy briefing, Leading Edge Women Leading Digital, a document that highlights the importance of recognising the talent and contribution that female employees can bring to public sector IT.
The data collected in the study includes recent ONS Quarterly Labour Force Survey data that showed that the percentage of women in computing jobs is not above 20% in any UK region, while only 10% of women in tech worked as IT directors, and 9% for IT engineering roles. The highest proportion of female workers – 25% – was found in tech project and programme manager roles.

As part of the research conducted for the briefing, Socitm’s research suggests there is “a strong business case for widening access” for women in IT for both expanding what it dubs “cognitive” diversity, but also for “creating an inclusive culture for greater productivity, inventiveness and sustainability”.

To get there, it says local government needs to challenge those who control recruitment and interviewing to design recruitment, retention, reward and progression paths that “resonate” with women.

Work should go into the design and implementation of structured programmes to support more women in visible positions of leadership, and that Town Hall bosses should also invest in initiatives such as Tech Mums, Rewise Learning and CoderDojo so as to allow “anyone of any age and experience” to embrace technology in everyday situations to “make their lives better”.

“Local authorities should reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, and I absolutely support the call for greater commitments to address the depressingly small number of women working in digital and IT roles in the public sector,” added Ruby Dixon, who is on the steering committee of something called Women in IT (WiT), a Socitm group that aims to help tackle the poor representation of women in information technology, especially at decision-making levels, as well as provide a forum for women to share problems and solutions.

Socitm defines itself as “the body representing IT and digital professionals across the public sector”.