Women, the digital market and Europe's economy can all benefit from more females working in the IT sector within the EU, Brussels' unelected digital czar Neelie Kroes insisted today.
Findings from a survey conducted by the European Commission claimed that such a move would boost the 28-member bloc's annual GDP by a whopping €9bn.
Steelie Neelie said on her Twitter account:
Every digital woman is a triple-win: for herself, for her organisation, for the economy.
The Register cheekily asked Kroes if, as a digital woman with enormous powers, she is a "triple-triple-triple-win". To which the answer appeared to be yes, after the EU's vice president fully endorsed our question by somewhat naively liking the tweet.
Just how, then, did Brussels' officials magic those billions in Euros the EU could drum up from having more women working in techie jobs?
It found that from a sample of 1,000 women with a decent university education, only 29 of them hold degrees in IT, compared to 95 men. It claimed that just four in 1,000 women would go on to work in the information, tech and communications industries.
The study added:
Women leave the sector mid-career to a greater extent than men and they are under-represented in managerial and decision-making positions (even more than in other sectors).
It said that 19.2 per cent of IT workers had female bosses, compared to 45.2 per cent of employees with jobs in other fields. The EC concluded:
But if the trend were reversed and women held digital jobs as frequently as men, the European GDP could be boosted annually by around €9bn (1.3 times Malta's GDP), according to the study.
The ICT sector would benefit since organisations which are more inclusive of women in management achieve a 35 per cent higher Return on Equity and 34 per cent better total return to shareholders than other comparable organisations.
Kroes said she wants to attract more women to IT jobs and highlighted incentives such as greater earning potential and the fact that there is apparently lots of work opportunities in that market.
"We now know, beyond doubt, that more women in a business mean a healthier business. It is high time the IT sector realised this and allowed women a chance to help the sector and Europe's economy benefit from their enormous potential," she said.
Among other things, the study said that four priority areas needed to be addressed, including empowerment, better access to venture capital plans and improving working conditions for women.
It found that barriers for women seeking jobs in IT included cultural traditions and stereotypes, lack of self-confidence and a dearth of role models in the sector.
The same study claimed that, by 2015, a staggering 900,000 techie jobs will be left vacant. This ain't the first time that Kroes has warned against an IT skills gap in Europe.
What do you think? Is Kroes shouting at the bins again, or does she actually have a valid point? Pile in with your views in the comments section below. ®
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