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Gender diversity in the IT industry remains as unbalanced as ever, according to the latest CIO studies by Harvey Nash and Gartner, and could even be getting worse.

Today Harvey Nash reported 7% of CIOs were female, a drop from 8% in 2013, following last week's statistics from Gartner that the percentage of women in the role has remained largely static at 14% since 2004.

In its 2014 CIO Survey, Harvey Nash said: "Over the last decade the proportion of women in the IT function has remained stubbornly low, despite the efforts of concerned leaders.

"Although nearly three-quarters of CIOs recognise the gender imbalance in their organisations, diversity programmes appear to be making little progress. Proactive succession planning by CIOs to develop the next generation of female IT leaders is essential if meaningful change is to be achieved."

The recruitment company, which spoke to more than 3,200 CIOs in its global study, said that despite these figures there was a 'bright spot'.

"Company to many other disciplines such as HR, a greater proportion of women in IT make it through into senior positions," Harvey Nash reported.

"This suggests that while we do not see enough young women entering the industry, if they do embark on a career in IT there is more chance that they could realise their full potential than in many other sectors.

"If more young women can be persuaded to enter the IT profession, it looks as though both they and the industry will benefit."