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Industry Watcher Sees Recruiting Women as Solution to High-Tech Labor Crunch

Aired October 11, 2000 - 1:44 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hundreds of thousands of jobs are going unfilled in technology companies for lack of qualified applicants. The high-tech sector in general is almost exclusively male.

CNN's Ann Kellan reports you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see one potential solution.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A severe shortage of qualified workers in the technology industry could stunt its expansion. A report from the research organization the Meta Group projects 850,000 job vacancies in the tech field by year's end. An industry watcher says recruiting more women is one solution.

SHARON GAUDIN, FEATURE WRITER, "NETWORK WORLD": If we had half the population as involved in high tech as we do with the percentage of men involved in high tech, No.1, we wouldn't have the worker shortage that we have now, and we'd have a much more diverse product line.

KELLAN: Seventy-three percent of programmers and computer scientists are male, and experts say that imbalance is reflected at the executive level of tech companies.

MARGARITA QUIHUIS, WOMEN'S TECHNOLOGY CLUSTER: You know, you look at these large companies and they're trying to get more women up in the, you know, higher executive ranks, they're trying to get minorities and they're just failing.

KELLAN: The Women's Technology Cluster is an incubator and seeks to nurture early-stage businesses into successful companies. It's goal is to get women in high-powered positions from the start.

QUIHUIS: We can set an example of what that culture looks like, and what happens is that all the companies that are here, it becomes part of the DNA of their cultures.

KELLAN: The startups must have at least one woman in a position of significant power and have a solid business plan to attract venture capitalists. QUIHUIS: A typical venture fund may get 5,000 to 10,000 business plans a year, so how are they going to decide which ones they're going to look at and which ones they're not? If you ask any venture capitalist, male or female, they're going to say, by far, the best deals came in through a trusted referral.

KELLAN: Many feel closing the gender gap will help reduce the job shortage in the expanding high-tech industry.

Ann Kellan, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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