New survey highlights male dominance of Irish IT sector

Eurostat report says 78% of men in the sector hold a degree - with one in every three under the age of 35

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File photo. Image: ADAM BUTLER / AP/Press Association Images

A new European survey has found that eight out of ten employees in the Irish Information and Technology sector are male.

The study undertaken by Eurostat - the EU statistical office - found that just under 78% of men in the sector hold a third level degree with one in every three under the age of 35.

European Commission (EC) spokesperson Ruth Deasy said there is “clearly loads of potential” for young Irish women to right the imbalance over the coming years.

The number of Irish women in the engineering industry is no less worrying - with just one female in every ten engineers.

Professor Eileen Drew, director of the Centre for Women in Science and Engineering Research at Trinity College said it is “no longer acceptable” to view “the norm of 10% to 20% women” as acceptable for a profession that is “critical to the economy.”

Professor Drew said the percentage of men in Irish engineering, manufacturing and construction is 13% higher than the European average of 73%.

She said sustainable change can begin in the sector when a “tipping point” of 30% - 35% female participation is reached.

“Given the strong demand for engineers across all disciplines and sectors in Ireland and elsewhere, we cannot afford to ignore major components of the potential talent pool,” she said. 

"Bridging the gender gap is a major focus, but it is important to recognise that engineering suffers from a lack of diversity in general - and that needs to change.”

The president of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) in London, Professor Ann Dowling will be in Dublin tomorrow to deliver a public lecture on diversity and inclusion in the engineering industry.

Professor Dowling believes the gender imbalance is inflicting a significant loss on the economy and her lecture will discuss some of the key lessons learned from the RAE diversity and inclusion programme in the UK.

Professor Dowling will be speaking in the Edmund Burke Theatre at Trinity College at 6pm.