The IT industry must redeem itself in the eyes of potential workers who steer clear of IT, believing it is not condusive to a healthy social life, according to a report.
The skills crisis should be driving the industry to encourage new entrants, particularly women, says IT recruitment specialist GCS.
“The UK’s IT industry should make small changes now, which could impact the skills shortage," says the report.
"By working with a local school or college you could offer students career advice or actively promote careers in IT, so girls as well as boys are clear on the opportunities a career in IT can present."
"This could be a great way of tapping into the local talent pool," said GCS managing director Chris Bartlett.
The survey found that 40 per cent of 18-25 year olds - 38 per cent of women and 41 per cent of men - have branded IT professionals as "techie geeks with no social skills or social lives".
But only 17 per cent considered IT to be a boring subject, suggesting that the problem lies in the sector's image, not its content. Men were less impressed by IT as a subject, with 19 per cent calling it boring, compared with 12 per cent of women.
While 31 per cent - 37 per cent of women and 28 per cent of men - thought IT was a hard profession to break into, 12 per cent -13 per cent of women and 12 per cent of men - said it was a male-dominated profession.
The survey was conducted through Facebook and respondents were 68 per cent male and 32 per cent female.
Computing's renowned society reporter and international blogger Janie Davies reveals her Top 10 Cool IT People – "because they do have lives too, you know."
1) Doctor Who, time traveller, hero
2) Bryan Glick, Computing editor
3) Steve Jobs, CEO, chairman and co-founder of Apple
4) Alan Sugar, entrepreneur, founder of Amstrad
5) Rorie Devine, CTO - Betfair
6) Steve Molyneux, e-learning pioneer and education IT guru
7) Tim Marshall – chief executive ja.net
8) Mark Kobayashi-Hillary - outsourcing expert and Computing blogger
9) Dilbert – cartoon character and IT icon
10) Steve Dodson, programme director Digital Challenge
Cool criteria calculated according to factors that may or may not include: pints consumed, job seniority, millions earned, lovers attracted, television exposure, parties attended, respect commanded, down-with-the-kids rating, dancing ability.
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A discussion of the "risk perception gap", its implications and how it can be closed