The latest UK unemployment figures released by the Office of National Statistics paint a grim picture for the economy as a whole, and women in particular.
During the last quarter of 2011, 48,000 individuals became unemployed, with the unemployment rate standing at 8.4%.
The Institute for Public Policy Research highlighted that two thirds of these newly unemployed were women, taking the number of unemployed women in the UK to over 1 million – an increase of 91,000 over the last year.
FDM COO, Sheila Flavell, said, “These latest jobless figures make for bleak reading and it is shocking that so many talented females are out of work. As employers we need to be providing greater opportunities for women to actively participate in the workforce.”
The lack of women in IT is a critical issue for the industry. According to the e-skills 2011 report, UK Technology Insights, only 18% of IT and Telecoms professionals are female, down from 22% in 2001.
In a bid to combat this shortage, FDM instigated a ‘Women in IT’ campaign, which encourages and supports women to enter the IT industry, and established a female mentoring programme.
As part of this commitment, FDM seeks to challenge common stereotypes of the IT industry to help women understand the nature and importance of the industry throughout the economy.
Gone are the days when IT professionals were confined to back office rooms segregated from the rest of an organisation. IT employees are often required to interact with colleagues within all departments at all levels, very much at the forefront of business.
IT is increasingly an attractive industry for women to move into, with the High Fliers’ report into ‘The Graduate Market in 2012’ highlighting that the most common employer requirements for graduates were in finance and IT.
Sheila Flavell continued, saying, “There are a wealth of opportunities available for women in the IT industry and we urge women who may not consider themselves as ‘techie’ to take a fresh look at the diverse roles available in IT. With female unemployment at such high levels, we encourage women to consider a career as a professional IT Consultant.”
FDM takes graduates from a variety of backgrounds, including engineering, mathematics, numerical sciences and finance, and trains them in IT specific skills before sending them to work on technical placements with the company’s prestigious clients.
With the latest unemployment figures for women failing to lift hopes, the news that FDM is recruiting 1,000 graduates this year and actively champions women in IT provides welcome respite from the economic gloom.