The proportion of women in digital and creative industries is falling, with just 26 percent of positions filled by female employees compared to 33 percent in 2002.

Research from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), showed that this figure is far below the UK average of 47 percent, due to the high demand for skilled employees. It revealed that these industries have a higher proportion of vacancies than other sectors, with high-level jobs such as web developers and programmers remaining unfilled.

Karen Price, director of the Tech Partnership, a network of employers working on digital skills, said:

“The UK is a world leader in the digital and creative industries. Our software development, visual effects and computer games companies are some of the best there are, and we want to keep them that way. That means that we need to make sure talented people fill the jobs that we’ll need to keep growing.

“The news that female entrants to the digital sector are falling is very disappointing. We want to show women and girls that there are great opportunities in the digital sector, and that the rewards are great too.

“It’s key that we influence girls from a young age and our TechFuture Girls programme aims to get girls of 10 to 14 engaged with computer skills and IT through after-school clubs. In 2022 these girls will be making choices about further study and careers, and making sure they know how important digital skills are is vital.”

The challenges of skill shortages are likely to increase, with projections suggesting that 1.2m people will be needed to fill digital and creative jobs by 2022.

The research suggests such a high volume of vacancies cause more than just increased workloads for employees, with 40 percent of employers reporting that they had lost business due to not being able to fill posts.

More than 2 million people are employed in digital and creative industries, with the sector worth £137bn to the UK annually.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said:

“The UK’s Digital and Creative Industries are amongst our biggest success stories, but for them to continue to flourish we must make sure the next generation of talent is being taught, trained and nurtured. Initiatives like TechFuture Girls that encourage young women to consider a career in this dynamic sector will play an important role in addressing this issue.”