Research of Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures by Nixon Williams, which provides accountancy services to contractors, revealed that there were 20,648 female contractors in 2017, compared with 16,568 in 2016.
But more needs to be done to attract women to such roles if skills shortages are to be addressed. Of the total of 125,012 IT contactors, women made up only 16.5% in 2017, which was up from 13.8% in 2016, 12.2% in 2012 and 9.3% in 2010.
ONS data also showed that the number of contractors rose more quickly than the number of IT employees. There were 125,012 self-employed IT professionals in 2017, compared with 119,568 in 2016, while the number of IT employees increased from 675,000 in 2016 to 701,000 in 2017.
Nixon Williams said the increase in the number of IT contractors, and the proportion who are women, is good news for the growth of the UK tech sector. “Contractors are a very efficient means of transferring skills among multiple organisations, which can help alleviate talent shortages,” said Derek Kelly, CEO of Nixon Williams.
“The shift in the composition of the IT workforce since the financial crisis is doubly remarkable because much of the change is due to an influx of women into contracting.”
Kelly added: “There are more women in IT in both permanent and contracting roles, but the increasing proportion of contractors who are women is particularly significant as contractors tend to earn more than their permanent counterparts, which suggests that the pay gap between men and women in the IT sector is likely to be narrowing.”
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