"Getting more women into ICT careers would be a force for change and a major boost for this key economic sector in Europe", said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, on the occasion of International Women's Day in Brussels. "With Europe facing a skills shortage in this sector, we must encourage more women to study ICT subjects and to take up a career in this field, so as to increase capacity of the workforce and to tap into women's creative potential."
The ICT sector contributes 5.3% of EU's GDP and 4% of its jobs. It continues to achieve above-average growth and is still the EU’s most innovative and research-intensive sector.
However, by 2010 there will be an expected shortfall of 300,000 qualified ICT staff. Therefore Europe needs more ICT professionals. Although computer studies graduates across the EU-27 grew by 133% from 1998 to 2004, Europe is actually falling behind comparably. In 1998 computing graduates accounted for 2.3% of all graduates in the EU-27, by 2004 it had increased to 4%. In the US it rose from 2.3% to 5% and in South Korea from 1% to 6%.
For women the statistics are even worse. The proportion of women computer graduates fell from 25% in 1998 to 22% in 2006. In other regions of the world the percentage is higher: Canada (27%), the US (28%), and South Korea (38%).