Record numbers of women in IT, but black women still under-represented, new research finds

LONDON (23 September 2020) — More women than ever are working in IT roles across the UK (326,000 in total) and now make up a record 20% share of the specialist IT workforce, according to new analysis from BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.


The proportion of women in specialist computing roles increased to its highest ever level this summer, rising to 20% from 17% at the same point in 2019, the professional body for IT found.


Over the past year there has also been a small increase in the percentage of black women working in IT positions, from 0.3% in 2019 to 0.7% in 20201, according to BCS' study based on Office for National Statistics (ONS) employment data.


However, black women are still heavily under-represented in IT and, by comparison, across other occupations their level of representation is 2.5 times higher. As a whole, there were 31,000 black people working in IT positions across the UK in the second quarter of the year - 1.9% of the total IT specialist workforce.


Julia Adamson, Director for Education at BCS, said: "The UK economy needs a diverse IT industry to turbocharge its recovery and these figures are an important milestone for women in tech.


"The sector is certainly doing better at attracting the range of skilled professionals it needs, supported by long term increases in women taking the subject at A level and applying for Computer Science degrees.


"But there is still some way to go towards true equality in our field; Black women make up less than one percent of IT specialists. Professionals from a range of ethnic backgrounds tell us that diversity can still feel like a box-ticking exercise and that managers need to do more to understand the experiences of the people they lead. Continuing to close the diversity gap is key to an IT industry that is professional, highly skilled and ethical."


View the diversity report - Part 1 (PDF)
View the diversity report - Part 2: ONS Analysis (PDF)


1 - Four quarter averages taken from the ONS Labour Force Survey till June of each year