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UK Firms Face Cloud Skills Gender Gap

March 29, 2017

Companies in the UK are suffering from a cloud skills gender gap that could harm their business as firms transform to meet the demands of a digital world, research by Microsoft has found.

The survey of technical and IT leaders – entitled Microsoft Cloud Skills Report: Closing the Cloud Skills Chasm – found that, on average, the gender mix among their teams was 80% male and 20% female. However, 35% said they didn’t plan to change this imbalance.

A fifth of firms that employ between 250 and 999 staff have no female IT workers.

The worryingly low numbers of women in IT roles sat alongside figures from the same survey that revealed a high number of technical leaders believed cloud computing skills would be critical to their organisation. However, most said people with these skills were not easy to find.

“According to the Hays Global Skills Index, last year marked the fifth consecutive year of a rising UK skills shortage, particularly in the technical engineering and specialist technology roles into which cloud skills fall,” Cindy Rose, Microsoft UK Chief Executive, told the Microsoft Tech Summit in Birmingham on Monday.

“Central to any overhaul has to be a focus on women. Missing out on diverse and female talent is certainly a well-known problem facing our industry but it is only exacerbated when we are already facing a labour shortage – and one that may be about to get worse if Brexit brings limits to immigration.

“Companies need to develop plans to bring more women into the IT workforce so they can take advantage of these benefits. It is important for the future IT skill base of the country that this becomes the new normal. The need for change is clear.”

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