December 5, 2013: As technology rapidly evolves and drives huge shifts in business, the information and communications technology (ICT) industry needs to attract more young women, according to a recent report by professional services firm Deloitte. The report, Women in ICT - Perspectives and Perceptions, details how women comprise less than 20% of the Australian ICT workforce.
The lack of female representation at senior levels is even greater, with women occupying a tiny percentage of ICT leadership roles. Kaylene O’Brien, Deloitte Consulting technology partner said organisations and their leaders need to address the gender imbalance in the ICT industry if they are to recruit, retain and engage Australia’s high performing talent.
“We need to do more to encourage school students and young women in particular, to pursue a career in ICT. Our teachers and career advisors need to see the potential for women to have rewarding careers in the ICT industry and they need to encourage them.
“The benefits for the sector and Australian businesses are enormous,” O’Brien said.
“As more women succeed in reaching ICT’s top spots, we can act as role models for younger women and help foster the ambitions of aspiring CIOs, both female and male,” added O’Brien.
The report identified the need for teachers, career advisors and family members to open their minds to the prospects, and understand that opportunities in the industry are still developing.
O’Brien said: “There will be roles and careers in ICT that become available in the future that don’t even exist today. Currently school students and young women are receiving the encouragement to pursue careers in ICT - which of course is not helping the situation.
The report also identified that in the rapidly evolving world of ICT, a successful CIO must understand the whole business and the issues facing it, not just the technology.
“Staying at the forefront of technological progress requires entrepreneurial skills that support strategic planning,” O’Brien said.
Essential skill sets include:
- Broad business knowledge
- An understanding of technology trends
- Communication skills
- Empowered leadership style
- Strategic planning and long-term vision
* ICT Workforce Study, Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency, July 2013.
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