INDUSTRY Women behind in computer skills

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Only 5 per cent of professional information technology personnel and just one in five computer studies students are women, according to research published today.

There are also indications that the number of female students in computer- related courses is declining in some higher education institutions, IT recruitment consultants DP Connect and Computing magazine found.

Schoolgirls are encouraged to view familiarity with information technology as a means of securing an office job, but not as a career in itself. The study says: "Women IT professionals tended to have entered the industry by accident." Meanwhile, the Wainwright Trust, a charitably funded research group into equal opportunities, found that the promotion and recruitment of women in the private sector had been adversely affected by the tendency to devolve decision-making to line managers.