back to article Why women won't apply for IT jobs

Women won't apply for IT jobs unless they are certain they meet every single criterion for the gig, according to John Ridge, Executive Director of the Australian Computer Society Foundation Trust Fund (ACSF). Ridge and the ACSF run a national Work Integrated Learning scholarship scheme for IT workers in Australia and have, …

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  1. Denarius
    Thumb Down

    seen job adds lately ?

    most want 5 different specialties in one body. Puts anyone off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It probably that women are more aspirational in life that they steer clear of IT careers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        +1

        Also, the article author has got it arse over tit. The disconnect between the insane HR departments and the real world of what actually needs doing in an IT operation or project is such that the job requirements bear absolutely no relation to the skills or knowledge required. Maybe women aren't as likely to play along with the HR psychos like the men?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          This.

          I know someone who got turned down by resourcing for a role on the basis they didn't have any Oracle 10 experience. The decade of experience of Oracle 6 through 9 wasn't relevant apparently.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This.

            I'd bet they also wanted 5 years Oracle 10 experience when it had only been released a couple of months before.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This.

            >>I know someone who got turned down by resourcing for a role on the basis they didn't have any Oracle 10 experience. The decade of experience of Oracle 6 through 9 wasn't relevant apparently.

            Not really relevant to the article, but Oracle have a great certification scheme, experience is wonderful, but the OCP certification is an outward sign that you know what you're doing (and have a broad knowlege of the product), once you're certified on a specific version, version upgrade exams are about £100, which is a pittance compared to £100k contracts £50k permie - or go for Master if you really know Oracle, I know loads of Oracle DBA's who have done it for years but don't know the product, because all they do is the occasional install, move tables around and add space all day.

            Seriously, there are significant differences between the oracle versions, how does an employer know your skills are up to date, broad and relevant unless you can prove it? You might consider the Oracle exams irrelvant or trivial, but what does an employer think? two CV's turn up, identical apart from one with 10g OCP certification one without, who would you employ? make it more complex, one with 5 years experience and 10g certification, one with 10 years experience but no qualifications? what if HR is shortlisting CV's, no 10g, no shortlist, if the job requires 10g for the sake of a few hours of exams, do the exams!

            I was offered a permie job, starting at £48k + bens because I had OCP certification, straight into a senior role, the guy who offered it to me was an ex DBA (not some HR beancounter), I didn't take it because I didn't want to add space and resize tablespaces all day.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: This.

              All certification schemes are pointless. They prove the ability to retake certifications, and identify people stupid enough to pay a software company to say they know their product's documentation.

              I spend my life fixing problems caused by people who've hired people because they can read a book, (oops, meant pass a certification exam.)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: This.

                >>All certification schemes are pointless.

                Yes, you are completely correct, they certainly don't get your CV filtered into a shortlist or give you and advantage over other candidates.... not.

                It's completely irrelevant whether *you* think certification exams (or any qualifications in general) are pointless, if you believe that knowing enough to pass an exam is irrelevant that's fine, don't bother - your choice.

                >>identify people stupid enough to pay a software company to say they know their product's documentation

                Quite right, people are sooo stupid to be able to show they know a product, did you really write this?

                >>I spend my life fixing problems caused by people who've hired people because they can read a book, (oops, meant pass a certification exam.)

                I can't believe you're missing the point so badly here! these people got hired...... because they got the qualifications! now if these people have *no* experience, then give them a junior role and develop their experience (as you would with a graduate).

                By your own admission, certifications get you jobs, it genuinely doesn't hurt to get the certification, and it often broadens the knowledge of people with a long-term experience of a narrow skillset, if you want to change jobs, or are being made redundant, then you need *every* possible thing in your favour to get a job, that might be turning up on time, a nice haircut, breath mints, a clear CV, qualifications, finding out about the company you're being interviewed for etc.

                I spent £10k on training, worked in IT > 25 years, done some things before anyone else in the UK, written SFL on ICL mainframes, UNIX kernel modules in C, modified code from Applied Cryptography back in '95, done things that I'm not even allowed to tell you I've done, built hundreds of Oracle databases, today I manage a petabyte of customer data, and yes I add Oracle Certified Professional to my CV, because all that experience might mean nothing if I don't get an interview because I haven't ticked a particular box on an HR CV filter, it cost me £500 to get the initial certification, I've spent more than than for a dinner for four at the Ivy.

                By the sound of it, you could pass the exams easily, but imagine if you go for a job and somone less capable gets an interview, and you don't because of something so trivial (as not having 10g on your CV), missing out on an apportunity for the sake of two or three days pay.

                Your choice, your career.

            2. JEDIDIAH
              Linux

              Utter nonsense

              Certs are nonsense. They are time consuming and don't really mean much. They do allow you to get familiar with industry jargon but that's about it. If you are interested in a particular feature then you need to ask about a particular feature. Oracle version numbers are less than meaningless. Having been exposed to the latest version doesn't mean squat if your experience is shallow or if it is lacking whatever new shiny shiny that you happen to have a fixation on.

              Even beyond tall of that, the quality of the professional in question is the most important thing of all.

              This is something that corporations have lost sight of.

              A professional doesn't need to be custom crafted like some unskilled laborer.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Utter nonsense

                Utterly true.

                I moved over the pond and my job history and education became rather meaningless (especially with stupid online forms that won't allow anything but 10 digit phone numbers). And most general IT jobs are completely hung up on A+ certs.

                A bearing in the power supply fan goes out. What should you replace?

                A. Fan

                B. Case

                C. Bearing

                D. Power Supply

                Answer: D

                Explanation: The whole power supply should be replaced. PC technicians should not

                try to repair power supplies.

                Do not use the fan from an old or unused case even though there are no spare power supplies, it is Saturday night and a new one will take at least 2 days to arrive. Electricity bad!

                So I got a job swapping out desktops for a call center as part of a team of 10. Everybody but me and two others didn't have an A+ cert. No guess who did 40 machines a night and who struggled to make sure to use the same IP address as the old machine?

                </rant>

                Why wouldn't they use a DHCP server btw?

            3. RICHTO Silver badge
              Mushroom

              Re: This.

              Why did they offer you desktop support money for a DBA job?

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This.

            "Have you got S.Q.L. experience? It doesn't say on your cv anywhere."

            "Well I wrote an bespoke RDBMS kernel for a trading system, because Oracle wasn't fast or compact enough."

            "Yes, I see. Does that mean you've done S.Q.L or not? Can you just modify your cv and send it in to me."

            I swear to god the above conversation happened.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Might it be ...

          That this is because the majority of HR psychos are women?

    2. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: seen job adds lately ?

      I agree. In the UK it seesm to be a job ad problem rather than a gender problem. I've never yet applied for a job where I had a perfect fit with the requested skillset, the closest I've ever come to full correlation is 40%, but I've been able to demonstrate enough ability in related skills to show that I'll pick up what's needed. While I am sure that there are cycnical job ads written to perfectly match the only (internal) candidate that can fill the job to allow a company to prove that they've advertised the job when they know who they want to get it, most of the 'grab bag' sklllsets seem to be assembled from a LEGO® kit of jobspecs that are thrown at HR to make a job with.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Re: seen job adds lately ?

        "....most of the 'grab bag' sklllsets seem to be assembled from a LEGO® kit of jobspecs....." My absolute fave example of this was when our HR and their pet agency came up with a spec for a junior admin that asked for three year's experience.....

        Some of it I put down to the habit of taking training costs out of opex budgets, which are under pressure, resulting in no-one wanting to spend the money to train new staff, instead wanting to recruit ready-trained staff. When I left my old job I saw the ad that ran for my replacement, and I laughed to see that I had done the job for three years but didn't fully meet the spec they were advertising!

        1. jaedgahuva

          Re: seen job adds lately ?

          Our HR has a lovely habit of putting out external job ads stating that the applicant must be competent in using software product "xyz". Where product xyz is a bespoke, internally developed system which the outside world has very little chance of even knowing exists!

      2. Kevin 6

        Re: seen job adds lately ?

        not only a UK issue over in the states I love the entry level adds(the greater majority where I live) that require 5 years exp and over $1000 in certs...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: seen job adds lately ?

      "most want 5 different specialties in one body. Puts anyone off."

      That might be the intention if its the "we put out a job ad but no-one applied so we need a visa for this person we going to have to bring in from abroad" job ad!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: seen job adds lately ?

      Great example here. I worked for a school where I entered a IT apprenticeship scheme and did 4 days work and 1 day college to do the coursework. Completed the course in 9 months and was hired subsequently as a on the bod IT Technican doing all spectrum of work (printer cartridges to basic AD work). Eventually learnt my craft and became the senior systems administrator just below my boss on a reasonable wage (but still well under what I was doing after 3 1/2 years in that role - server building/maintenance, network monitoring, advanced AD, OS admin).

      Left just over a year ago. They put an ad out to get a direct replacement but clearly the role I did was at least worth £5k more at a minimum. There was clearly no-one with the whole spectrum where the job ad wanted the superstar for nothing rather than bringing in someone who wanted to promote from an IT Tech position. Lack of understanding on how to shape the role to at least attract some potential. You need at least some carrot on a stick to pull anyone half-decent in.

      In the end, no-one replaced me and the junior IT techs on a pitiful wage (very close to minimum wage!) had to take over some of the less crafty work and my manager by the looks of things took on the more complex stuff. God knows how they're managing when I always had an arms length of projects on the go all at once because the school doubled in size but admin staff never doubled in size. I'll keep shrugging my shoulders till the end of time.

    5. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: seen job adds lately ?

      They've been like that for ages

      Especially amusing are the ones that want 2 years+ experience in the latest whizzy bang technology, yet whizzy bang has only been out 3 weeks.....

      PS I want more women in manufacturing too...... gets kinda lonely when all you have to talk to is the robot loaders

    6. xperroni
      Mushroom

      Re: seen job adds lately ?

      I'll get flamed up the *** for this, but what the hell.

      Back in the previous century, when women decided they wanted a more active role in society, they fought nail and tooth for the rights to vote and work outside of home, rebelled against unfair laws that placed men (particularly in the role of husband) above them, and forced their way upwards in society.

      But for some reason, when it comes to women in IT, they are always portrayed as defenseless victims of us Evil Men © and our prejudicial ways. "Oh, if only IT pros weren't so sexist", the people who purport to talk in their name whine. Never mind that men aren't exactly free from abuse from managers, clients and the like...

      And now I hear that job ads are the problem? WTF?

      Dear women, if you really do want a career in IT, and if people like me really do make the industry so women-unfriendly, feel free to push your way through. Who knows, I might not even be so hard to change, if you just give it some heart. But don't expect me to extend the red carpet and ask pretty please with sugar on top for you to come – IT is a ruthless industry, no matter who you are; the weak and fickle need not apply.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: seen job adds lately ?

        "Dear women, if you really do want a career in IT, and if people like me really do make the industry so women-unfriendly, feel free to push your way through ... IT is a ruthless industry, no matter who you are; the weak and fickle need not apply."

        It is better to choose people on the basis of their technical ability than their ability to deal with aggressive people because their technical ability is ultimately what you want from them. If you find that the environment makes something unrelated to technical ability a factor - e.g. ability to put up with prejudice, then better to change the environment so that it is no longer a factor. Do you really think it is efficient to filter out technically gifted applicants because they don't want to put up with sexual inequality or prejudice?

        1. xperroni

          Re: seen job adds lately ?

          It is better to choose people on the basis of their technical ability than their ability to deal with aggressive people because their technical ability is ultimately what you want from them.

          Agreed. However, having to put up with unpleasant work conditions, unreasonable people, overblown position requirements etc. is a recurrent problem for most IT workers. Why it's such a disaster only when women are involved? It's not that we don't all get our own share of crap – and we don't give up and blame it for failure.

          If you find that the environment makes something unrelated to technical ability a factor - e.g. ability to put up with prejudice, then better to change the environment so that it is no longer a factor.

          I'd love to, but I don't see that happening in the foreseeable future – not for IT, and not for any field of human activity. Technically talented people still have to cope with stressful and unreasonable situations if they want to build a career, be it in IT or elsewhere.

          Do you really think it is efficient to filter out technically gifted applicants because they don't want to put up with sexual inequality or prejudice?

          No, I don't. Actually I'm asking for the opposite: instead of whining at the sidelines, how about enduring through and promote change from within? Landing my first IT job wasn't easy either, regardless of prejudice. I'd love it if we could work only with agreeable people, but I still want to work in IT even if that's not the case.

        2. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: seen job adds lately ?

          Every job has nonsense. Either you are willing to put up with the nonsense or not. The fact that there is supposed to be unusual nonsense in IT doesn't really matter. You either want to shatter the glass ceiling or you don't. If women self-select against IT in University, then the rest of us can hardly be blamed for lack of balance out in practice.

          IT has it's own set of nonsense that has nothing to do with gender bias. It may be that for whatever reason (socially indoctrinated or not) that women just aren't interested in the field.

      2. Mike Flex

        Re: seen job adds lately ?

        > "IT is a ruthless industry, no matter who you are; the weak and fickle need not apply"

        IT is sitting in a chair in front of a keyboard; it's not the SAS.

        1. xperroni

          Re: seen job adds lately ?

          IT is sitting in a chair in front of a keyboard; it's not the SAS.

          Bit of hyperbole, sorry if I sounded too literal. Still, as office jobs go, I doubt there's seldom anything more demanding.

          1. vic 4

            Re: still, as office jobs go

            > I doubt there's seldom anything more demanding.

            Either you work for a very poor employer or you have had a very sheltered life!

            1. xperroni

              Re: still, as office jobs go

              > I doubt there's seldom anything more demanding.

              Either you work for a very poor employer or you have had a very sheltered life!

              Then enlighten me: which office jobs are more demanding than IT?

        2. Martin 37
          Alert

          Re: seen job adds lately ?

          Sitting in a chair!

          Paah! Sometimes you have to go under the desk and wiggle a cable. It's hell down there, i tell you.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: seen job adds lately ?

      Especially in Australia, those ads a an end-run around the visa system.

      1. Advertise job requiring an unlikely mix of skills, more skills than can be reasonably expected, and/or for an income level nobody would apply at.

      2. Wait.

      3. Nobody suitable applies, by design, so inform the immigration department that you need to bring in some guys from India with these skills that you cannot seem to source locally.

      4. In theory make larger profits because you just totally undercut the local market. Your mileage on the success of your imported workers may vary.

      You only need to look at some of the roles on Seek that are advertising for a Senior developer with 8+ years experience and 3+ year of enterprise usage of WPF, WCF, multi-threading, some C++ and the target salary is $75k. These people are scum.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: seen job adds lately ?

        I work in a major company which has recruited many Indian immigrant workers. The strategy is this:

        Indian goes to work for BT Tech Mahindra in India with I believe the intention to use the company to get to the UK and work inside BT in Ipswich. Indian immigrant works for BT in Ipswich for a period of time then leaves to become a contractor or employee with another UK company.

        If they become a contractor, eventually they try to become an employee to win enough points on their immigration visa to continue to extend their stay in the UK.

        Eventually, having spent enough years in the UK, the indian immigrant applies for an 'upgrade' to their visa for 'indefinite leave to remain'.

        Anyone remember the debacle 2.5 years ago with Tory Harris Business systems in Bristol advertising for Indian workers? Their recruitment agency soon removed the job advert claiming it was a 'mistake', there were objections that their recruitment policy was racist. Torry Harris is an Indian company with an office in Bristol.

        It wasn't an accident in my opinion. They just weren't aware of the rules here in the UK, and they got caught..but no punishment.

        All it needs is one Indian manager to be recruited by the UK company, and then within 2 years, there is a massive influx of indian immigrants because the indian manager will only recruit his fellow compatriots.

        Seen it happen.

    8. Petrea Mitchell
      Flame

      Re: seen job adds lately ?

      It's a huge problem in the US as well. It's known as the "purple squirrel" phenomenon in some circles over here.

    9. That Steve Guy

      Re: seen job adds lately ?

      I have tons of fake jobs, reposted every week for the same thing to get you on their database.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    I must of missed

    I must of missed the drive to get more mails as house makers, nurses, kindergarden teachers, Olympic syncronised swimmimg and above all pole dancing.

    If somebody wants to do IT then it's there choice and as long as it is judges upon merit then fine, focusing on any other aspect is not addressing the issue.

    If the issue is descrimination then that needs to be addressed at all levels, not by fudging the books by briding and moraly inducing women or anybody in a what effects fair choice. If women want to work in IT there is nothing stopping them and if there is and it is nothing to do with ability to do the job then that needs to be addressed as it is against the law. If your windows keep getting smashed then you take actions to stop those windows getting smashed, not put up more windows as a solution.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I must of missed @PXG

      Just one question. Do you have a job?

      Sorry, two questions. Are you old enough to have a job?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I must of missed @PXG

        @Chris W yes and yes and in my spare time I torment trolls, grammer and spelling nazi's, if it is any comfort there, thier, they're

    2. JimC

      Re: I must of missed

      I fear you must have missed your english lessons as well...

      Where I am I would say that the number of women working in technical roles in IT has dramatically reduced in the last twenty years. I think that's a bad thing because:

      - I reckon a higher percentage of women have a good mind set for customer facing technical support roles than their male colleagues.

      - a reduced pool of good people available can only be a bad thing

      - I find mixed teams tend to have a better working dynamic

      - I think it makes for a more civilised working environment.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I must of missed

        - I reckon a higher percentage of women have a good mind set for customer facing technical support roles than their male colleagues.

        You reckon wrong. It's got nothing to do with gender. I come across many, many women PMs who are awful at customer facing - the same proportion as men, actually.

      2. Christine Hedley

        Re: I must of missed

        "Where I am I would say that the number of women working in technical roles in IT has dramatically reduced in the last twenty years."

        I've noticed the same thing: I think we need to look at what's happened over the past 20 years to cause this. I think part of the problem are the "women in IT" programmes, which I personally think succeed in making it look a much more forbidding place than it really is.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: I must of missed

          Fortunately the previous set of "Women in IT" just retired.

          Working on a govt contract with an anonymous British AerospacE company was a bit surprised that more than half the programmers on a pretty technical/nerdy satellite tracking project were women, and most were 50+.

          Talking to some of them the history was. They were working for Gec/Marconi/Honeywell in the late 70s/early 80s when somebody decided there needed to be more women in IT. Programming is just typing right, so they "retrained" the secretaries as programmers. Some were good, and would have been good SW engineers if they had the opportunities at the time - the others ? Well suppose you took some typists, gave them a couple of week course on Fortran 77 and then put them in a govt job where they could never be fired......

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: I must of missed

            Sorry - didn't really make my point clear. It wasn't the women that were the problem - it was the policy.

            So the government will decide we need more women in IT. Universities will be "incentivized" to get more women through it's programs. The only incentive universities have is entrance requirements and pass marks, so these will be adjusted to get 50% of women passing.

            Similarly the govt can't do anything to make private companies hire women, but it can insist that govt IT jobs or govt IT contracts are 50% women.

            The result of this is unlikely to be a rise in the status of women in IT !

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I must of missed

        Women have dropped because the government has provided loads of subjective jobs to employ them. Men prefer objective jobs, women prefer jobs where you shuffle papers and don't really have the chance to fail. It's just evolution at work, women prefer less risk.

        When given virtually any situation, women will choose the safe one, and men the one that has the most reward.

    3. h4rm0ny

      Re: I must of missed

      "If women want to work in IT there is nothing stopping them and if there is and it is nothing to do with ability to do the job then that needs to be addressed "

      There is certainly something. The farther East you go (India, Eastern Europe), the more sex ratios in IT balance out. In India, programmers are apparently around 50:50 in balance of the sexes. Which pretty much rules out biological differences and puts the blame on culture.

      1. stanimir

        Re: I must of missed

        Which pretty much rules out biological differences and puts the blame on culture.

        ...Or b/c the job is well/better paid and the jobs in other 'female' preferred areas either scarce or not-so-well-paid (or both), the opt for that choice.

        Also in Eastern Europe there are probably over 90% men in the IT.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I must of missed

        "There is certainly something. The further East you go, (India, Eastern Europe,) the more sex ratios balance out. In India, programmers are around 50:50 ..."

        Yes. And though I love all the Indians I know, (this last statement wasn't a troll,) we can see just how effective that policy is, by the absolute plethora of cutting edge software the Indian subcontinent has invented. I'm just looking at my Microsoft kit here, my wife's Apple kit, and so on, and thank god that if it were not for Asian female IT staff, we white anglo saxon men would have invented nothing.

      3. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: I must of missed

        In Pakistan, being an engineer is well respected and on par with being a Doctor.

        It's nothing like that in the US.

        The US has a quite anti-intellectual culture and we have the elevation of athletes and things like "Revenge of the Nerds". It's little wonder that only dedicated geeks enter ANY sort of engineering or tech field. It doesn't help that most Engineering programs don't try to retain people but try to actively discourage them.

        A 6th generation female engineer from the eastern bloc might be successfully put off by the entry level CIS course.

        1. Hoagiebot
          Flame

          Re: I must of missed

          The US has a quite anti-intellectual culture and we have the elevation of athletes and things like "Revenge of the Nerds". It's little wonder that only dedicated geeks enter ANY sort of engineering or tech field. It doesn't help that most Engineering programs don't try to retain people but try to actively discourage them.

          The seemingly anti-intellectual culture in the U.S. is something that I actually think about quite often, especially since it didn't always seem to be that way. I almost wonder if the resentment held towards science and technology by many Americans today has to do with our society's failure to reach the lofty goals that we had set for ourselves back in the 1960's. For example, in 1967, Time magazine declared the entire generation of people that were "twenty-five and under" their "Person of the Year," and wrote the following about them:

          “He is the man who will land on the moon, cure cancer and the common cold, lay out blight-proof, smog-free cities, enrich the underdeveloped world, and, no doubt, write finis to poverty and war.”

          Let's see how much of that we have accomplished since then:

          Land on the Moon: Yes! However we haven't had a manned spaceflight to the moon since 1972. Bummer.

          Cure Cancer: We have much better treatments for cancer than we did in the 1960's, with many of them extremely successful, but by saying "cure" in the article I think that Time was looking for something much better than that, such as a fool-proof prevention of all cancers. Unfortunately, we have not found anything close to that yet.

          Cure the common cold: No

          Lay out blight-proof, smog-free cities: No

          Enrich the underdeveloped world: We could have done a whole lot more than we did

          Write finis to poverty and war: Not even close

          I mean think about it-- in the 1960's everyone was talking about how wonderful the "Space Age" was going to be, with mile-high cities made of gleaming steel and glass, jetpacks that you could fly yourself to work with, supersonic airliners that could fly us across the Atlantic in less than 3-hours, pills that would allow you to not have to sleep, doubling your productivity, a supply of nuclear power that would be so inexpensive that electricity would become a basic human right, robot servants, giant laboratories were scientists could permanently live on the bottom of the ocean, or in orbit, or on the moon... I mean people really believed that we could achieve that sort of stuff back then, and that science would eventually make almost anything possible.

          It was that hope that inspired young people to join the scientific and technical fields during those days. Back then everyone wanted to be an Astronaut, a rocket scientist, a biologist working on cracking interspecies communication with dolphins, or a researcher looking for the next disease-eradicating miracle pill. Everyone wanted to be the next "Johnny Quest," and use super-science to save the world. But when it turned out that achieving those lofty goals wouldn't be so easy, and that to reach them it would take more hard work, funding, and time than anyone had ever imagined. I think that somewhere along the lines as a culture everyone started to become disillusioned. People began to stop viewing science as our great savior and the scientists as the great heroes who were going to bring those technological miracles into being. Pretty soon people stopped doing things for the good of mankind and started doing things only based on how much money they could make doing it. Businessmen and politicians starting looking for short-term research projects that could lead directly to a quick financial return, often neglecting the fact that sometimes scientific research done for research's sake can eventually lead indirectly towards greater more important discoveries. Think for example how NASA's support for the then fledgling semiconductor industry in the 1960's helped indirectly lead to the "Information Age" of the 1990's. Could solid-state computers have evolved to where they are now without the Apollo program's help? Sure, but it would have taken a lot longer if the research and funding required only became available through market forces.

          Nowadays there is no need to want to be an Astronaut anymore because there is no manned space program. The pharmaceutical industry, whether fairly or not, is now viewed by most people as valuing their financial bottom line more highly than trying to rid humanity of plagues and disease. Our great supersonic airliners ceased their operations in 1983 (the Tu-144) and 2003 (the Concorde), respectively. Our great advances in Information Technology are now being used against us by corporations to profile every detail of our lives and deliver targeted advertising to us. And worse of all, we actually live in a world where we have to tell our children how we used to be able to send people to the moon and how we used to have airliners that traveled faster than sound. And those few young people out there who still want to get a degree in a scientific or technical field often find that the great research and achievements that their universities are responsible for are overshadowed by how good their varsity football and basketball teams are. Even when these students graduate their futures aren't certain-- with the short-term "how will this boost our next fiscal quarter results" kind of thinking that corporations and shareholders have today, many companies have moved much of their R&D to labs overseas where PhD's can be hired for cheaper, leaving the brilliant young technical minds here to get a job where they are treated like cattle in a cubicle farm at best, or left only being able to get a job at Wal*Mart or McDonalds (or no job at all) at worst. And all the while our politicians wonder why our students' math and science scores are slipping and people care more about becoming "famous for being famous" than actually achieving something that has any social worth.

          To sum up my thoughts, I think that this is in many ways a top-down problem. I believe that more of our youth (including young women) would get excited about science and technology if there was something huge going on to get excited about. The U.S. Space program inspired a massive increased interest across all of the sciences during the 1960's-- there must be something along those lines, or perhaps several things, that either government or private enterprise could use to inspire the youth of today in much the same way. I think that if young people are given a compelling reason to "shoot for the stars" in math and science that they will put in the extra effort to do so on their own, and those drooping math and science scores would fix themselves.

    4. PassiveSmoking
      FAIL

      Re: I must of missed

      It's spelt "males". Mails is that papery stuff that comes through the door (probably with the dole cheque in it, in your case).

      1. ISYS

        Re: I must of missed

        Try using 'must have' and not 'must of'

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: I must of missed

          @ISYS Duely noted and thank you for constructive feedback. Always have time for that unlike the usualy approach's most take to what they don't like. Kudos

      2. Oninoshiko
        Pint

        Re:PassiveSmoking

        THANK YOU!

        I was getting hung up on that trying to figure out what the post had to do with anything. Guess I really could use a pint.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Mushroom

        Re: I must of missed

        "It's spelt "males". Mails is that papery stuff that comes through the door (probably with the dole cheque in it, in your case)."

        Your right about the misspelling upon my part, sorry I'm not perfect as to the assumtion as to what mails I do recieve, well fuck you you insulting cunt if I may be as bold to spell out upon this matter of dole cheques you speak of.

        1. Goat Jam
          Headmaster

          Re: I must of missed

          "Your right about the misspelling upon my part, sorry I'm not perfect as to the assumtion as to what mails I do recieve, well fuck you you insulting cunt if I may be as bold to spell out upon this matter of dole cheques you speak of."

          I find that a pithy put down works so much better when it itself is not littered with 4th grade spelling and grammar errors.

          You should try it some time.

    5. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I must of missed

      @PXG

      The researches offered their findings in a report, but didn't explicitly state any action (if any) that employees should take- the conclusion seemed more to do with education of women about the job market. The idea from the employers point of view is that there are some useful individuals out there who aren't putting themselves forward for interview, to mutual loss.

      However, many of the smartest women I know are more towards microbiology, finance, neurology, geology, rather than engineering (I know a couple) or IT (can't think of any). There are shadows of 'Men ask "Wow!What does it do?" whereas Women ask "What does it do for me [or for wider society]?"'

      By chance, in the last week Woman's Hour featured a female IT director. She had fallen into it by studying and working in chemistry (analytic thinking), seeing what the responsibilities of her company's IT administrator were in practice and thinking to her self "I can do that!". She said was getting no female applicants for an IT role when it was advertised as paying £50k /pa, but quite a few ladies applied when she re-listed the job at £30k.

      To look at things the other way, UK primary schools are crying out for male teachers, but again must judge each applicant on their own merits. At the age I was learning about PCs by trying to get the bloody things to play games, a fair few female peers were getting work experience with young children.

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

        Re: I must of missed

        I know few women working in IT and they are, as a rule, better than their male counterparts. Or at leasy trying harder (mostly with success). It seems that women tend apply for IT position they actually want to keep and then focus on the job. Perhaps it's result of "long term thinking" that women are predisposed to.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I must of missed

          "I know few women working in IT and they are, as a rule, better than their male counterparts"

          This is funny, I know loads of women in IT. Most of them do side jobs, and all the clever ones, both of them I've dated. They're outnumbered at least a hundred to one by the men of equal or better ability.

          This is why I back them to the hilt, when men slag them off for being useless. They are mostly not as good as the men on average, but this is no reason to return to victorian britain, where all single women have to work in prostitution. I'd much rather the IT industry employed large numbers of reasonably useless women, than have them on the dole.

          My policy is open. People who know me, know I think this, and act like this. Despite most of the men openly disagreeing with my view on useless people, I nevertheless find myself having to defend women's positions in jobs, by the people who describe themselves as pro-diversity. It is the pro-diversity crowd who are usually political and backstabbing knife merchants.

          I'm unashamedly sexist. I think women aren't as good as men at virtually anything, but we should look after them because of it. So sue me.

        2. RICHTO Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: I must of missed

          Yes, I agree. They make much better coffee than most men....

      2. eldel

        Re: Male primary school teachers? Hah

        So back when my daughters were just starting school (and we were living in the UK) there was a flyer from the local education people that encouraged parents to get involved as helpers in class. Given that I was contracting and working from home at the time I figured that I had the schedule flexibility to deal with it and I was still new enough at the parenting thing to think it would be a pretty cool thing to do.

        So I send in an email and wander in for a chat. To be met with a 'but you're a man !!' attitude. Well, yes, I knew that. Turns out that the prevailing (or at least well entrenched) opinion is/was that only a male who is a pervert would apply to work with young children. I was left under no illusions that I wasn't welcome.

        I spoke with some of the fathers of the other kids in the class - to be met with cynical laughter and a 'welcome to the new world' response.

        Given that single anecdotal piece of 'evidence' you can draw any conclusion you like - but I have to say that the lack of male primary school teachers doesn't surprise me. The numbers are slightly (but not much) better in California BTW - although when I volunteered for my kids schools there I was welcomed with open arms.

        1. Derezed
          IT Angle

          Re: Male primary school teachers? Hah

          Yes, all men are sex offenders in waiting apparently.

          God only knows the damage this is doing to male children. Pretty pathetic.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I must of missed

      Dear PXG,

      I really hope you manage to get the position you're looking for, but having found four spelling or grammar errors in the first two paragraphs of your message, I certainly wouldn't be offering you one.

      1. Ian Yates
        Headmaster

        Re: I must of missed

        Try harder. I found 6 in the first paragraph alone.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I must of missed

        Dear AC, I had no idea you cared or indeed it was a job application. I will however not be using that brand of coffee again.

  3. foo_bar_baz
    Alien

    Interesting

    I'm a male and I won't apply if I don't meet all the listed criteria. I don't understand why have a list of requirements if you then accept applicants that only meet half of them. Failing to get any applicants that do meet them, you're left with people who think half is good enough.

    Alien because I must be one.

    1. Oliver Mayes

      Re: Interesting

      I think it's mainly because the people writing the requirements are non-technical people who have no idea what they're asking for. They put every conceivable qualification that they can think of down expecting god himself to apply (as he's the only one who could possibly meet the requirements) but after months of silence or unsuitable people they just settle for someone who can just do the job.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interesting

        Indeed. Ads for general practitioners don't usually require car maintenance skills, but people looking for IT people seem prepared to put together any kind of grab bag, and the agencies encourage it because then they can talk up the wage rates. The requirements, too, often have no concept of level. They don't distinguish between a highly skilled data analyst who can knock up a basic dashboard, and a web designer who can just about connect to a back end database: in both cases they will ask for the same skills. I think the truth is that men tend to know this and account for it, while women don't have the same background knowledge and take things literally.

        1. Arrrggghh-otron

          Re: Interesting

          As a bloke the laundry list of expected skills puts me off applying for plenty of jobs. Having attended plenty of interviews where my skills [i]were[/i] a perfect match yet the technical bod in the interview has a completely different skill set in mind resulting in me wondering just what they hell I have applied for, makes me increasingly reluctant to waste my time attending interviews when I really don't need to (I have a job but like to keep an eye on other opportunities).

    2. David Dawson
      Facepalm

      Re: Interesting

      The adverts are very commonly put together by recruiters.

      Many of them use them to filter down CVs based on technologies and what not mentioned, rather than trying to understand the content of it properly. It just leads to lying in CVs, or just listing things to get past the recruiter keyword filters, which is annoying.

      On my own CV I've actually gone as far as to put a table at the start just full of technologies, languages and buzzwords for the recruiter to read. They don't tend to read the rest of the CV (I've checked).

      Since I put that in I've invariably been given an interview, as its the choice of the recruiter in most places these days.

      It annoys me that we all have to play this weird, sick game though.

    3. fch
      Angel

      Re: Interesting

      I've done both - applied to some jobs where I've met all the criteria, and applied to some where I didn't. In cases where I got the job, I ended utterly bored out whenever I seemed "the perfect fit", but if there was an element of the unknown in it, I enjoyed and stayed in the job for many years.

      Can only speak for myself there, but I guess the boost from someone else saying "we believe you can do it" is better for my motivation and willingness-to-strive-for-it than the intrinsic "I believe I can do it" thing. Whether this externally/internally-induced motivation thing is gender-biased I don't know, though.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's always seemed like an advantage for my wife........

    I find companies may use some kind of affirmative selection criteria (or it may just be sour grapes)

    My wife and I have worked in PC support, general electronics and telecommunications and now she is working in Medical equipment and there have been times we went for the same job and she got it over me (There's those sour grapes I was speaking of!)

    Seriously, she has applied for (and got) some jobs where I looked at the requirements and thought "I won't even get a reply to my application"

    I personally think it's like any area of life, if a person is not particularly interested in a field of work then they are highly unlikely to enter that field.

    "IT" is seen as the last domain of the geeky outcast (wrongly of course, I mean just check out some of the well written, grammatically correct, reasoned debates that regularly take place in these forums to see that most IT professionals are well rounded, wholesome, well educated people)

    Anon, because the wife might see this :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's always seemed like an advantage for my wife........

      Hell, both your wife and you work in IT!

      That must make for some scintillating conversation when you get home in the evenings?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's always seemed like an advantage for my wife........

      What really annoys me is when someone thinks I got a job because of some sort of affirmative action program rather than on my abilities.

      My husband and I both work in IT. Occasionally I have applied for jobs where my husband hasn't even bothered to apply because the list of requirements put him off. On other occasions, we actually have applied for the same job and I got it over him. Basically, I am better qualified, but I know that he secretly thinks I got the jobs because I am a woman and have some sort of advantage, rather than having to work twice as hard to for the same respect in the IT field.

      Anon, because my husband occasionally reads El Reg. ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's always seemed like an advantage for my wife........

        I was interviewing for an IT post.

        A husband and wife who both work in IT both applied for a job.

        The husband came across as a geeky outcast but the wife was particularly interested in working in Medical equipment so got the job.

        Anon, because they both occasionally read El Reg. ;)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's always seemed like an advantage for my wife........

          I attend a lot of swinging parties and there was this couple once who both worked in IT...

    3. Hollerith 1
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: It's always seemed like an advantage for my wife........

      Best chain I've read in weeks! Thanks, 'Mr' and 'Mrs'...

  5. Pete 2

    The answer is in the article

    So in Oz, few women work in IT and the director of the ACSF reckons it's because they don't perfectly match the wish-list in the job ad.

    However, the article then goes on to contradict this opinion by citing the "pitifully low enrolment rates" into australian IT courses and then the "horrifying drop-out rates for women in IT courses".

    So it seems that while the hardy few who do apply and get through the course may be reluctant to apply for less than perfect jobs, the biggest failing is in getting sufficient numbers of women IT graduates, in the first place.

    Maybe the guy should stop blaming the few women who "talk themselves out of applying for jobs” and instead fix whatever is broken in the education system that's an almost complete failure at attracting women into the relevant university courses and retaining their enthusiasm through those courses.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Weird

    My office is very guy-heavy, and the only woman who got a technical job in the last few years - who was also the only one to apply - wasn't actually much cop at it (she once asked me the difference between megabytes and gigabytes, if any). If she thought she hit every criterion for the job then she was massively fooling herself.

    This is in the UK, where we've just taken on four graduates. I interviewed almost all of the applicants, and they were all male. I hate the fact that the office is almost all guys, but what can we do if women barely ever apply (the lady described in the first paragraph had a weak CV, but got an interview on the strength of being female and the guys wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Weird

      Megabytes and Gigabytes? Hell, our Head of IT ops doesn't really know that one!!

      He is a he BTW :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Weird

      > My office is very guy-heavy

      Well my office has quite a few heavy guys. As a physically fit male, it makes me feel very uncomfortable to not have moobs to match my colleagues.

      1. LaeMing Silver badge
        Go

        Re: Weird

        Silicone implants?

  7. wowfood

    well

    I'm gonna get chastised for this I'm sure.

    Firstly on the job advert front. I've always taken the opinion that nobody can fulfil all those criteria, they just want a portion of them. I mean honestly, who in their right mind advertises for a junior software engineer, graduate, who had 5 years work experience and expert knowledge of C++, C, C# and XML.

    Of that subset I had 2 years C#, 3 years C++... That was it, I applied and I got the job (i'm still not sure how) and voila I work in IT.

    The lack of women I'll agree on, but honestly, when I came out of school there weren't any girls interested in IT. Lots of girls I knew of spoke to went into social studies, psychiatry, media, fashion, hairdressing.. (most went fashion hairdressing). We had one girl in our class and she failed I believe (first lesson, she didn't even know how to create a new folder on the desktop)

    So I'm honestly not surprised that there aren't as many women in IT positions. But the few women who do join the proffesion I'd say are far superior to the men working, not because of some inate talent women have, but because they probably studied much harder and actually put the effort in to prove they can do it.

    I will say however I HATE with a passion affirmative action or whatever its called, honestly if I had to hire employees, I'd ask them to send in CVs with names and any gender related bits blotted out, then I'd work through the list chucking out any who don't meet the requirements, and I'd found out their gender during the live interview. Can't be accused of discrimination that way.

    1. foo_bar_baz

      Re: well

      I don't know if it's the place you live or just the girls you know / spoke to, but I know lots of girls who have gone into business, law, international politics, medicine, natural sciences and engineering. But none have gone into IT.

      Really, it goes way down to the young age where you buy a barbie for your daughter and legos for your son.

      1. stanimir

        Re: well

        Really, it goes way down to the young age where you buy a barbie for your daughter and legos for your son.

        Watch this, The Gender Equality Paradox in Norway http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ2xrnyH2wQ

        That being said my daughter got lego from her mom :). Researches claim such preferences are built-in in humans.

        1. Petrea Mitchell
          Boffin

          Re: well

          "Researches claim such preferences are built-in in humans."

          Speaking up as an IT person who keeps an eye on psychological research due to a big interest in human/computer interaction...

          Researchers used to claim that, but on closer inspection they (and other aspects of brain development) turn out to be more highly influenced by culture than anyone previously thought. And unfortunately, it's not just what toys the parents get; it comes from every direction. It's a huge topic but you can start by reading up on the basics of situational psychology.

        2. Hoagiebot
          Thumb Up

          Re: well

          @stanimir: The "The Gender Equality Paradox in Norway" documentary film that you linked to was very interesting and enlightening. Thank you for posting the link.

    2. Rocket_Rabbit
      Paris Hilton

      Re: well

      The local hairdresser drives a nearly new BMW M3. I (with my degrees, certs, NVQs, 6 years of experience etc etc) ride a push bike to work.

      Who is the fool???

      1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

        Re: well

        We'd need to see income and loan statements to judge that, wouldn't we? The hairdresser could be a bad week ahead of the repo man.

        Or actually, maybe we don't need to. I am the fool. After about the 10th posting on women in IT at El Reg and a few more at Hacker News, I could write the specimen entries for all points of view, and throw in the typos for the ones that need them. Yet here I am.

        1. Aldous

          Re: well

          or more likely a lot of income is undeclared as it is cash in hand so you could be earning the same just with less stopages

      2. BorkedAgain
        Facepalm

        Re: well @Rocket_Rabbit

        I think you'll find the _owner_ of the local hairdressing boutique drives that flash car. Their oh-so-stylish minions are likely paid significantly less.

        (I speak as a bald man who trims his own hair on a No 0 setting, who was shocked and stunned when I found out how much Mrs Borked paid for a trim... )

      3. RICHTO Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: well

        So the hairdresser is shagging a man with a good job. That has always been a popular career path for women...

        1. LaeMing Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: well

          Oh how I wish I could honestly downvote you Richto.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting...

    ...to see that (on my system at least) the original article has a great big advert within the main text for a women's clothing website ; lots of pretty dresses on display. Ahhh, how sweet!

    Misogynism got anything to do with this hiring crisis, perhaps? ;-)

    As for the job spec not really matching the real world requirements - maybe if we finally allowed the Hiring Managers to do their own jobs and dumped Human Remains departments out of the equation?

    For me, Personnel (I refuse to call them HR, the jumped-up tw4ts) should only get involved once the experts concerned have made the decision to hire someone. Too often they seem to think the company works for them, rather than vice versa. Put 'em back in their place.

  9. Steve Crook
    Coat

    Time for action

    Plainly schools, universities need to change their approach to attract more women to take IT courses. The IT work environment needs changing to make it more attractive to women.

    Eventually, there will be more women in IT than there are men. At that point we can begin to question what it is about men that makes them unsuited to IT, and how we can change men to make them better suited.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Time for action

      They're already trying to get women into IT, haven't you seen all the pink laptops / netbooks coming out? What more could a girl want?

  10. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    “Industry wants women,”

    It does indeed, this means that women have superb opportunities in the industry.

    All women have to do is want them (which often they just don't, hence low enrolment

    and high drop out rates at uni), so quit the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    It's as dumb as going on about the shortage of male nail technicians.

    As an aside to this, I notice there's a tendency for the feminists to expect instant change to things.

    Even if the shortage of women getting qualified was "fixed" overnight, they still have to complete 4

    years of uni and a work experience year to be a serious candidate for anything, then there's at least

    3 or 4 years before they'd be aiming at the upper salary range to balance pay differentials.

    So it takes a decade to turn this ship assuming we want to turn it anyway.

    If you look at the same claims about upper management (typically filled with blokes in their 50's) they

    started work 30 years ago, it will take 30 years for women to be equivalently qualified even if all the

    chauvinistic morons were removed overnight.

    1. peter_dtm
      Thumb Up

      Re: “Industry wants women,”

      hear bloody hear !

  11. Gordon Pryra
    FAIL

    job applications need as much experiance as the role itself

    Basically any job advert is a company trying to get as much as possible for as little as possible.

    The contractors out there understand that, and laugh.

    The influx of ex-full timers have not yet learnt this, they will. Then they too will laugh in the face of such gems as "6 years Windows 2008 experiance required".

    Once people understand the game being played they start to understand that these adverts are rubbish.

    The company requires someone to look after some servers, they do NOT need someone cabable of building those servers from the raw materials and writing the OS to put on them while laying the cable over the pond and putting the routers in while blindfolded and under hostile fire, they are also NOT going to get anyone who fills all the "tick boxes" for 200 quid a day.

    If someone does fill all the criteria and is willing to work for that after spending years getting the knowledge, then that person is probably an ex-con or on the register and so has to work for pea-nuts.

  12. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Oh the irony...

    ...given that women are heavily involved in writing these adverts...

    Paris, because that's the closest I can find to an icon for misogyny.

    1. Spoonsinger
      Windows

      Re: "Paris, because that's the closest I can find to an icon for misogyny."

      Umm, fairly sure that the use of Paris is actually ironic rather than misogynist. If you need an icon in the current age see attached - which is basically your average lunch time office drinker nowadays - with views and opinions which turn even me pale. (I kinda of miss the 70's though - so like a long lunch).

  13. Anonymous IV
    Thumb Up

    Verity Stob

    Perhaps Reg Mangers (sic) could suggest that she writes an article on this topic?

  14. Irongut

    Has anyone ever stopped to consider that maybe not as many women are interested in IT jobs as men?

    1. stanimir

      That's politically incorrect, so better alternative are necessary.

    2. I'm Brian and so's my wife
      Childcatcher

      It seems to me that a number of people have considered that, but are asking a more fundamental question: what can we do to make IT more interesting to capable people (irrespective of gender [& other irrelevant criteria]).

      My wife & I will be doing our best to overcome our own social programming to ensure that both son & daughter have as broad a knowledge base as possible. That means being interested in what they're doing and ensuring that they get the chance to try out lots of different subjects and activities both in and out of school.

    3. ZanzibarRastapopulous

      > Has anyone ever stopped to consider that maybe not as many women are interested in IT jobs as men?

      I think they're after jobs with money, status, holidays, job security, early retirement that sort of stuff, that's why there's a lot more of them are teachers and increasingly police officers.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Quite.

        I am certainly not going to encourage the next generation to get into IT. It's a thankless job that you're better off avoiding unless you've got a yen for it. With offshore outsourcing, people should be surprised that anyone is still going into IT. Never mind the gender balance.

  15. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    FAIL

    Lately, in another publication

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/podcast/at-work/tech-careers/why-bad-jobsor-no-jobshappen-to-good-workers/

    "One of the things that used to happen is that there were HR managers in recruiting who would look at those requisitions and say, “You know, do you really need that? Do you really think you’re going to be able to find somebody like that?” And there was push back. Those people have largely been eliminated through successive downsizing, so there’s nobody there to buffer those expectations. The next thing that happens is those requirements get built into recruiting software, and the recruiting software is a necessary device now, because employers have made it easy to apply for their jobs.

    In the past, they wanted lots of applicants, so now they’re overwhelmed by applicants, so now every company will tell you they’re getting thousands or tens of thousands of applicants for positions. You couldn’t possibly screen them all by hand, because you can’t look at them all, so they use automated systems to do the screening. But the screening is never as good as somebody who has human judgment, and the way screening works is you build in a series of typically yes/no questions that try to get at whether somebody has the ability to do this job. And a lot of that ultimately ends up, it’s all you can ask about, is experience and credentials. So you end up with a series of yes/no questions. And you have to clear them all, and I think people building these don’t quite understand that once you have a series of these yes/no questions built in, and the probabilities are cumulative right? You have to hit them all, then you pretty easily end with no one that can fit."

    So say that the odds are 50 percent that the typical applicant will give you the right answer in terms of what you’re looking for for the first question, and a 50 percent that they’ll give you the right answer to the second question. Well, then, you’re down to one in four people who will clear those two hurdles, and once you run it out to about 10 questions, it gets you down to about one in 1000 people who would clear those hurdles. And by the way, the first hurdle is usually, What wage are you looking for? And if you guess too high, out that goes, right? So then you’re at the purple squirrel point, where at the end of the day, you find that nobody fits the job requirement. So in the book I describe one anecdote some employer told me about having 25 000 applicants for an engineering job, a reasonably standard engineering job, and the recruiting process indicated none of them were qualified to do the job. How could that happen? Well it’s not that hard once you start building in these yes/no algorithms, and you run out the list, you end up with nobody who can get through.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't it the education system that's wrong also?

    I wouldn't just blame the HR process in not being able to recruit more females into IT, you could apply the fact that IT within the education system is pants before university. It was during my school days (almost 10 years ago). We had IT teachers that couldn't even teach IT, even to the basic level of Word/Excel/Paint. This was back when I started secondary school and most of us knew more than the teacher did. This in turn probably caused a lot of females to struggle and really not have much confidence in the subject. After that, none of us touched IT (unless the subject required it to produce some work) until year 10 if we took it as a subject within GCSE.

    Most of the girls I remember from my GCSE course just did it as no other subject interested them within the technical/business area (design tech, cooking, business studies). Again, the course was a very basic learning curve of how to write documents, do a few macros in excel, use a vector based imaging package and a few other things. Replicated from my year 7 experience, the teacher was a failed IT tech who'd turned to teaching and really didn't teach anything useful (actually, he was very much like David Brent and looked like him!). I managed to help some of the females who were left behind by the teacher. After that, I can't imagine many were inspired to go to IT at sixth form (just a smaller number based on the same principles). For all of the females, none of them did the double award to so interest in the subject that only 5 of us did.

    I can't imagine many of the opportunities during that time were very appealing to go on to university (I remember none of them did). The problem is essentially a minority of females are becoming more difficult to hire resulting in less in the IT field. Maybe the UK needs to spend some money on the IT Apprenticeships/Scolarships outside uni to drive more females into the industry. I certainly did it that way with my self-interest in IT. Sometimes people need a carrot on a stick and a push in that direction.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Isn't it the education system that's wrong also?

      Good points well made sir!

      I started secondary school in the mid 90s. By the time they transitioned our IT classes from Mac Classics with Clarisworks onto PCs with Office, those who were excelling (pun?) in IT were generally those who had nagged for a PC (486/Pentium) at home - generally Male. These were the days before everyone had a PC, they were still seen by some as glorified toys.

      Now that more or less every house has at least 1 computer and broadband, I would be interested to see the result of school IT courses now that using a PC is no longer 'scary', future university classes, graduates should be more balanced. In theory.

      1. the-it-slayer

        Re: Isn't it the education system that's wrong also?

        Very true! I forget we started with no internet in 1998 with slow pentiums running Windows 98 and a god awful RM login system. Actually, we spent most of our IT classes trying to do naughty stuff with them (such as renaming all the system properties screens with a custom logo and mystery text). That's how much we took notice of the IT teacher who couldnt teach. This is why companies looking for a better balance in their IT dept is not going to find it. My assumption is that females saw IT as a specialist subject and didn't want to get their hands dirty with messing around with UIs and code unlike their male counterparts.

        Maybe we might see a change in direction slowly with more female IT teachers making a better impression and being seen as better idols. The theory will only work if teaching improves. It's still the achilles' heel of the whole process of developing better IT candidates of both gender. The recent cutbacks or idle budgets won't help schools build a lab server room to inspire the next gen. Most don't know until they get into a job or take serious interest at home to where it all starts. That's why I mentioned a better apprenticeship/sponsored scheme to help kick-start more people into practical IT.

        1. Diogenes Silver badge

          Re: Isn't it the education system that's wrong also?

          My current year 9 class size 26 - 2 female 24 male

          My current year 10 class size 28 -1 female 24 male

          My current year 12 class size 20 -1 female 19 male

          My collegues photography class (y 9 only) 24 - 16 female 8 male (those 8 boys are also in my class)

          1. RICHTO Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Isn't it the education system that's wrong also?

            Well women can handle one button to take a photo / turn a kettle on / start the dishwasher. Its when they get a whole keyboard and are expected to be more than a secretary that they have problems.....

            1. LaeMing Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Isn't it the education system that's wrong also?

              Okay Richto, this time you managed to earn your down-vote. :-P

  17. ArthurBent

    womens' hour

    So someone earlier mentioned listening to the female I.T person on women's hour (UK radio programme for women..) talking about this very story. Her main point seemed to be 'we need more women in I.T, and don't worry, there's loads of non-programming jobs!'.

    Now, while that's true, it seemed to be completely the wrong message. Surely it should be, 'there are programming jobs, and if you learn how to program, you could do them'?

    I think if I was female, and of a delicate constitution (as this report seems to imply), I'd be pretty put-off by a proponent of women in I.T. saying essentially, 'programmings obviously too difficult for you, but you could always do something easier instead'.

    (btw, I don't think programming is harder than everything else in I.T! But in my opinion, that's how it came accross).

    1. Florence

      Re: womens' hour

      I didn't listen, but was that comment really about difficulty? Couldn't they have been referring to programming not being the most social occupation ever?

    2. Derezed
      Meh

      Re: womens' hour

      Might be a bit like a Nurse saying that heart surgery is no harder than anything else in Medicine...bit specious.

      Programming is a skill and an art. I'd be interested to know what else is as difficult in IT. In Engineering, sure, but in IT? Really?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: womens' hour

        Not everyone who studies Medicine wants to be a Radiologist. Nor everyone wants to be a heart surgeon.

        There seems to be a perception, including during university courses, that to work in IT means to be a programmer.

        Other career roles within IT should be publicised for those who may not enjoy programming - QA, Support, Technical Writing to name just a few.

    3. peter_dtm
      IT Angle

      Re: womens' hour

      isn't it interesting that there is still a Women's Hour' - where is the Men's Hour ?

      oh the irony of a feminist type; bitching about lack of women in category x work; on a WOMAN's programme ? And none of them realise how sick this is ?

      It could never be that for what ever reason (genetics; some -ology or other; human nature) most women do NOT want to be (software) engineers ? Heaven forbid they could even consider that

      1. No, I will not fix your computer
        FAIL

        Re: womens' hour

        >>isn't it interesting that there is still a Women's Hour' - where is the Men's Hour ?

        Much of TV is men oriented, have a look at *most* series, films, documentaries, is the lead/hero male or female? if there are women there, how important is their role? are they just eye candy? name the female superheroes.....

        The reason there's no "Men's Hour" is that most media is already dominated by men, there's no need.

        >>oh the irony of a feminist type; bitching about lack of women in category x work; on a WOMAN's programme ? And none of them realise how sick this is ?

        Sick? well, it's hardly going to be mentioned on male dominated programming is it? you'll also find that they won't be mentioning how most people operating dust carts are men, but they might mention how politics are dominated by men... think about this...

        >>It could never be that for what ever reason (genetics; some -ology or other; human nature) most women do NOT want to be (software) engineers ? Heaven forbid they could even consider that

        Genetics? human nature? you obviously don't think you're an idiot. So let me explain, the reason why they wouldn't consider that is because it's fucking stupid.

        1. peter_dtm
          Childcatcher

          Re: womens' hour

          Genetics? human nature? you obviously don't think you're an idiot. So let me explain, the reason why they wouldn't consider that is because it's fucking stupid.

          So there are no differences between men & women - you know; body bits; hormones etc. And it is well documented that hormones affect mood; and mood affects cognitive functions (and vice versa).

          And the results are STILL not in on the nature/nurture discussion.

          Let me explain - we do not know; nor do we understand exactly why the observable differences (other than the obvious body shape and purpose) occur. Why do men and women exhibit different learning strategies for instance - it isn't all nurture either.

          So go on; explain why so few women go into industrial jobs; but stream into what could be broadly classed as 'caring' jobs - and vice versa ? And not just in western cultures.

          And are you really suggesting that all those news readers and weather presenters (UK) are just chosen because they are attractive looking women ? But when there were only men in those jobs that was also proof of male chauvinism. Examine that - male dominated - because men won't let women in; 50/50 split (though the BBC now seems to have more female news/weather presenters) - only because the women are there to titillate the men. What a sexist attitude; don't you believe that those women are there because they are at least equally capable (especially in the BBC) ?

          It is quite possible that men and women have a bias towards certain job types. Since men and women are demonstrable different physiologically and chemically; it is not unreasonable to observe they are different in many other ways too. Since this deals with human populations; not individuals; the odd male carer and odd brilliant female engineer do not disprove the thesis; on the contrary; we would expect each sex to exhibit a full range of human behaviours - just with different distributions. You must be really unobservant not to have observed atypical and typical gender differentiated behaviour; in fact so called comedians made/make good living out of this (depending on the current acceptability of certain kinds of jokes).

          By the way; you demonstrated the reason they(you) wouldn't consider that - because you are to lazy to do your own research and thinking; because it runs counter to your own (un-proven) beliefs; so just follow the current fashionable meme. To call something 'stupid' is an ad hom and does nothing to demonstrate your thesis; only people who don't know/can't be bothered descend to such strategies; and I am sure you could find some real counter arguments if you bothered to actually think..

          1. No, I will not fix your computer
            FAIL

            Re: womens' hour

            @peter_dim

            >>Let me explain - we do not know; nor do we understand exactly why the observable differences (other than the obvious body shape and purpose) occur. Why do men and women exhibit different learning strategies for instance - it isn't all nurture either.

            You have explained NOTHING, this is an argument from ignorance, worse than this you've even excluded "nurture" with absolutely no basis at all.

            >>So go on; explain why so few women go into industrial jobs; but stream into what could be broadly classed as 'caring' jobs - and vice versa ? And not just in western cultures.

            You've already made you mind up that "nurture" is not the significant factor here, so I suspect that there's really no point in explaining to you how socalisation affects work choice, let me give you some pointers;

            In wartime women were farm labourers, factory workers etc. this was imposed by society

            It's geek chic for men to be technical, but girls are like Velma from Scooby Doo

            Many cultures have different demographics - many asian women are scientists

            Times are changing, most medics (trainee doctors) are female now

            Times are changing, compared to 50 years ago we have 10x as many male nurses now

            But, this article isn't about ship building, or childminding it is about women in IT jobs, what possible reasons are there for a person to avoid IT, just because they have a uterus? And let me repeat, I still think that you are fucking stupid if you think it's biology that drives women away from IT.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In disagreement with ACSF

    I take on at least 2 graduates per annum as trainee (permanent) web developers. I expect them to stay at least one year (though they are not legally obliged to) and pay them a corresponding rate, which for the first six months equates to about £140 per diem. By at least the sixth month I expect them to have picked up Javascript,/JQuery, PHP, MySQL, XML, HTML5 and CSS3 to a reasonable extent that they can work on a major PHP site on their own.

    To date I find that while the application ratio is around 9:1 male to female the ratio for fast learning, diligence and competence is a reversal of that. I now have 3 graduates from the past 2 years who have stayed - 2 female and 1 male and I am taking on another 2 graduates this September - 1 male, 1 female.

  19. vgrig_us

    What a bunch of BS

    "Women won't apply for IT jobs unless they are certain they meet every single criterion for the gig,"

    Maybe in Australia. I wish some of the women in IT would at least make sure they meet 50% of requirements - i wouldn't have such terrible female VP of IT at my previous place of work.

    “Industry wants women,” - that's a problem: "industry" should want qualified people no matter gender. I was lucky enough to have a very good female manager at one time, i also had a number of very smart and capable female colleagues - just wish their gender wasn't a factor when they were hired (it was, sadly).

  20. Lily Lane
    Paris Hilton

    Sexism in the industry?

    I always read these 'women in IT' type articles with interest, having been the focus of the discussion myself for about 10 years. However they always seem to assume a deep seated raft of sexism that I simply have never come across. In whatever companies I worked at, I've invariably been the sole woman in the department, and can't recall a single instance of when a colleague has been sexist.

    However the real problem has been from the users. Countless times people seem to think I'm incapable of shifting kit, crawling under desks to check cables or sort out the most basic of issues. I've had people simple refuse to speak to me on the phone saying they didn't want to log a call with a secretary or demanding to speak to 'one of the guys'.

    It seems to me that the industry has no issue with women doing IT, but the society as a whole does.

    1. Florence
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Sexism in the industry?

      I won't forget any time soon the guy who told me over the phone "Whoa, you're the first woman I talk to who knows what a BIOS is". I managed to resist the urge to call him names or tell him he should step out of the server room every now and then, and just replied I knew plenty more.

      Thankfully this type of remark was never a common occurrence, and indeed this only ever happened in end user facing roles.

    2. vgrig_us

      Re: Sexism in the industry?

      I agree - i've seen far less hostility (really - almost none) towards women in IT than say in gamers community.

      One thing that's really pisses me of about SOME women in IT - thinking they have more to prove than men (for all women out there!) - that's a BS, just show me you can think and learn and handle the pressure. If you can do that - you'll earn my respects.

      1. Spoonsinger

        Re: " learn and handle the pressure"?

        what pressure? Yes I agree that some jobs apply 'pressure'. But that is really just bad management to any given situation. You should personally base 'your' time, in any given day, on what you like to do. That includes the work load, the people you work with and lastly your realistic aspirations.

        (PS before you think I'm all lovey dovey left-wingy with communist leanings, I generally think HR departments and recruitment agencies - mostly populated by women - are shite. Maybe some sort of swap around is in order).

    3. WatAWorld

      Re: Sexism in the industry?

      In Canada the sexism is rampant. 3/4 of programmers and men, but 3/4 of lower level supervisors are women.

      The disparity in promotions is not random chance.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hum

    Haven't personally met any exceptional females in IT. Havent' personally seen many exceptional woman in Computer Science or Engineering courses. Seems most jobs are basically built for men...I don't see many men in HR or nail centres.

  22. Ponmyword
    Paris Hilton

    Women want better

    A lot of women want more interesting careers than sitting in front of a monitor for 37.5 hours a week for the foreseeable future and telling a computer how to add 1 to a variable.

    Who can blame them.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      37.5 hours a week? Dream on.

      The computer already knows how to add 1 to a variable. Your job is to tell it, when it should do so.

      > A lot of women want

      Women want a lot, besides ponies.

    2. RICHTO Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Women want better

      They seem to manage to sit in front of a supermarket checkout without issue...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    jobs aka voluntary slavery

    if the percentage of jobs offering even a modicum of fulfilment wasn;t vanishling small, you might find people eager to do them. i'm sorry to say, if you are in the older generation looking to hire one of my generation as cheap labour, you can fuck off. we know what you're doing.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Facepalm

      A bit Marxist today, are we?

      It's how it works. Your offer your time and skills and get some money in return, generally in function of your time and skills. Negotation is up to you.

      Don't get the wads of cash you think you are entitled to? Not getting enough on-the-job entertainment?

      Well, open your own business.

    2. peter_dtm
      FAIL

      Re: jobs aka voluntary slavery

      with an attitude like that you are no doubt one of the idiots receiving charity (the dole) because you don't have a job. And; no doubt; you will refuse to do work experience because you aren't being paid -- well you ARE paid - you are paid the dole - it is time you got off your bum and worked for the charity that we apparently have to give you. You however do not deserve any of my (tax) money.

      Of course if you got some basic (or VB or DBA) experience you would be eligible for a more interesting job at higher pay - but then you still haven't worked out what cause and effect is have you ?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A collapse is the rapid simplification of society

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddmQhIiVM48

  25. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    37.5 hours a week?

    The rest is spent fetching coffee for the boss.

    And now you know why .....

  26. Lord Lien
    Thumb Up

    IT & women......

    To any female reg reader who's thinking of taking a job (or starting a career) in IT, its not all doom & gloom out their. "Lady Lien" works for a real nice company. She is treated as equal to anyone else at her skill level. So don't be put off applying for for a job or taking a qualification.

    Only bad thing about "Lady Lien" working in IT..... its hard to hide the "Grumble" ;)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IT & women......

      My Lady enjoys a bit of grumble ;-)

  27. Mark Pawelek

    You're all wrong

    quoting ...

    * most want 5 different specialties in one body

    * cycnical job ads written to perfectly match the only (internal) candidate that can fill the job

    * disconnect between the insane HR departments and the real world

    I disagree with these points made early on {repeated later}. Some people I know deliberately ask for more than they need because they only want the best and most experienced developers applying. The perception is that the best developers are several times more productive than the average and that the worst developers will actually cost you by writing rubbish.

    [All this is from the kind of informal survey results I build in my mind from having talked about recruitment (with others) for several years now. I go out to several cons and at least 25 after-work meetups each year,]

    The issue is the derth of women coders everywhere and who's actually addressing that issue here? If they want cheap techies from outside the UK why aren't they bringing in cheap female techies?

    HR don't specify technical requirements - techies do that.

    I personally wander how severe the anti-IT peer pressure is that women exert on others?

    PS: My comments refer to dev roles.

  28. Mark Pawelek

    Women out there - please tell us what you want!

    [q]I take on at least 2 graduates per annum as trainee (permanent) web developers. ... about £140 per diem.[/q]

    £140 per diem is far more than women can expect to earn in a nail bar or behind a retail counter, etc.

    He taking on recent grads with no actual experience. Why is he unable to recruit any women?

    Women out there - please tell us what you want!

  29. WatAWorld

    Women don't go into IT for good reason

    Women generally don't go into IT for good reason. IT work does not come wages and prestige that similarly demanding jobs do. IT does not generally provide the job security that other similarly paying jobs do.

    The IT sector would do well to avoid turning off young men in its eagerness to attract young women by any means possible.

    Does the nursing sector wring its hands over its inability to attract young men? No. The live with it. IT should do the same.

    1. the-it-slayer
      Meh

      Re: Women don't go into IT for good reason

      So we should continue bracketing jobs with gender and get on with it? Live in the real world mate. Male nurses provide strength to help carry patients and so forth when 2 or 3 females are needed to do the same job. A balance of both would make both IT and nursing industries much better to work in.

    2. No, I will not fix your computer
      Thumb Down

      Re: Women don't go into IT for good reason

      >>Does the nursing sector wring its hands over its inability to attract young men? No. The live with it. IT should do the same.

      Yes it does, and it makes an effort to recruit appropriately, I have many male nurse friends.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I AM A WOMAN

    AND DISGUSSTED BY MY LACK OF IT JOB

    1. LaeMing Silver badge
      FAIL

      I AM WOMAN. HEAR ME CAPS-LOCK.

      IN GRAMMAR TO BAD TO IGNORE!

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Woman

        Nah, It's just big Dumb Guy in a tutu.

        1. RICHTO Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Woman

          ^TOO BAD

  31. Faye Berdache
    Paris Hilton

    Cherry Picking

    Some years ago my company was running a graduate recruiting programme and I got to talk to a number of female graduates at recruitment fairs but when it came time for applicants we did not get one female applicant. My theory is that we were a fairly small company with few benefits or career potential, so we could not attract any females. There were so few of them in the market they knew they could cherry pick from all the firms offering positions, knowing that the HR depts would be falling over themselves to get more female engineers in their company. Go to the really big companys and see how many females work in IT related jobs there (IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Google) and note how much better there jobs are in terms of wages and benefits. Why settle for less.

    The corollary of this is that women don't need to grasp at straws so much when looking for jobs and would rather be in a role they know they can do (and thus avoid all that chauvinistic crap about not being good enough) and also avoid facing humiliation at an interview (usually involving chauvinist male IT experts) having to BS their way past the recruitment barriers. I do believe that BS is one area where men are better suited and more experienced.

    Paris because it's the only icon that has any vaguely female perspective.

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