The number of women working in IT roles has decreased since 2013 and female representation is particularly low at the most senior levels.

That's according to the 2015 Harvey Nash CIO Survey, which found that women made up only 8% of IT leadership roles - an increase from 2014 but still lower than the 9% figure reported in 2013. Harvey Nash, which conducted its survey of 3,691 CIOs this year in association with KPMG, said that the UK was even less diverse with a figure below the global average.

At the highest levels there is a greater lack of diversity, the authors of the research said, with barely 6% of female survey respondents having a CIO, CTO or SVP job title, unchanged from 2014 and down from the 2013 figure of 8%.

Furthermore, some 12% of CIOs globally reported having no women in their IT team at all, and four in 10 CIOs reported women make up less than a 10th of their technical staff.

Last month in this title's own smaller piece of research, women made up 13% of the CIO 100 - the highest number since its 2012 reboot but still below the percentage of women working in the technology and IT sector in the UK.

However, the CIO 100 is put together by a judging panel and as a compilation of the leading business technology executives in the UK is not necessarily reflective of the tech industry and CIO role as whole.

Last year analyst house Gartner said that the gender diversity of the CIO role has remained largely static for over a decade, citing an optimistic figure of women making up 14% of CIOs.

The 2015 Harvey Nash CIO Survey also revealed a difference between small and large organisations, with the former far more likely to have little or no female representation in the IT departments at all.

The authors said: "In smaller businesses with an IT budget of less than $1 million and a proportionally smaller IT headcount, gender diversity seems to be a bigger challenge. In these organisations 44% of CIOs report having no women in their IT function, and 7% have IT teams where women make up half or more of team members.

"In larger organisations with an IT budget of $250 million or more, the diversity landscape is slightly less skewed. Only 2% of CIOs lack a single woman in their IT function. Yet here also 61% of CIOs say that women make up less than one in five of their IT team headcount."