All is not lost
The flip side of the IT labor shortage is that it's a buyers market for the few women who are in the industry or who are just coming into the work force, some say.
Some female techies say this is a great time to be in the field, simply because there is such a need. And -- more so in the software industry than in hardware -- there's an increasingly younger work force that's more accustomed to working with women.
"I believe I was one of the first five female technical producers at AOL," says Melissa St. John, who is now an account manager at America Online Digital City in New York. "I'm proud of my geekness."
She adds, "I think AOL is actively looking for women to fill positions, and there are no women applying for positions as they open. I think women are in a good position right now to bargain for jobs."
Jack Bagley, vice president of external relations at Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit research and development organization in Columbus, Ohio, says women are in a better position in today's IT job market than men.
"They're a hot commodity," Bagley says. "Women are being recruited and stolen and promoted because companies want to diversify. Companies are recruiting them like athletes before they get out of school."
Battelle contracts with the federal government, which expects diversity in hiring.