Women made up 13% of the 2015 CIO 100, the highest proportion since its reboot in 2012 but still below the percentage of women working in the technology and IT sector in the UK.
In 2014 only 7% of the CIO 100 were female, while the figures in 2012 and 2013 were both just 5%. Last year Gartner reported a global average of 13.2% — a number which it said had remained static for around a decade — while recruiter Harvey Nash reported a 2014 figure of only 7% in the UK, a decrease from the previous year.
And while Halfords CIO Anna Barsby was placed at the top of a 2015 CIO 100 that showed more gender diversity than previous years — with three women placed in a top 10 which included Financial Times CIO Christina Scott and National Trust CIO Sarah Flannigan — more than 19 in 20 representatives from the CIO 100 are white and the 13% female representation is still less than the 17% of technology professional who are female reported by the Tech Partnership last month.
CIO 100 judge and 2014 CIO Summit panellist Jayne Nickalls said: "While it is good to see an increase in the percentage of women in the CIO 100, 13% is still woefully low and reflects the problems with recruiting women into technology and IT roles — along with the lower percentage of women the higher up you go.
"The industry is missing out due to this; we have hardly made any progress over the last 30 years and may have even gone backwards."
Fellow judge and columnist Ian Cox said: "The increase in the number of female CIOs in the CIO 100 is to be welcomed, but women are still under-represented in the IT profession generally and at senior levels in particular.
"This is an ongoing challenge for IT and is something that needs to be addressed in a consistent and sustainable way. Until the overall ratio improves it is hard to see how the proportion of women in technology leadership roles is going to change significantly."
But Cox suggested the changing business landscape could benefit a new style of CIO leadership which might in turn lead to balancing the gender ratio in the technology sector.
"Organisations are beginning to look for a different type of CIO with different skills and experience and a different way of working to the traditional CIO of the last 20-30 years," he explained.
"Increasingly organisations want their CIOs to also have non-IT experience, business and commercial skills, to be good at influencing and collaborating and to have strong communication and networking skills. This shift to a broader skill set could help change the proportion of female CIOs further."
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