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Girls reluctant to follow careers in IT – and it gets worse the older they get

A new report carried out by Parent Zone and Nominet has found that girls are still less likely than boys to want a career in IT.

The research, Girls in ICT, found that only 25 per cent of female respondents said they wanted to work in the field, compared to 43 per cent of boys. 12.3 per cent of girls said they would like to work in games development, with 11.5 per cent wanting to be an entrepreneur.
The survey also found that children become less enthusiastic about working in tech as they head towards their later teenage years.
Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of Parent Zone, said that children, especially young women, can be put off careers in technology if their parents advise them otherwise.

‘It’s easy for parents to slip into the trap of being negative about technology, but it’s important they try to see it through their children’s eyes and remember that technology is likely to feature in their careers when they leave school.

‘There are lots of resources available to parents when it comes to cultivating their children’s interests in IT, so they should know that help is available if they need it.’

The most popular job choice for girls aged of 11 to 18 was in fashion design, with 13 per cent choosing that as their future career option. The top career for boys in this age group was in games development, chosen by 36.5 per cent.

‘Young women are strongly influenced by their school years, what they learn and the role models they look up to,’ said Vicki. ‘These influences can clearly make a difference to the choices they make later in life, so it’s paramount we do all we can now to ensure the success of our future IT workforce.’

In September 2014, the UK government made it mandatory for children between the ages of five and 16 to learn computing in schools.

Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, said: ‘We’re putting the future of our digital economy at risk if we recruit from only half of the talent pool and fail to encourage more girls into IT. It appears that sustained collaboration between schools and the IT industry is what’s required to ignite girls’ interest and to develop their skills.’