The number of women in IT leadership positions continues to drop, according to a new study.
The 2012 CIO Survey conducted by Harvey Nash USA revealed just 9 percent of chief information officers in the U.S. are female, down from 12 percent in 2010 and 11 percent in 2011.
In addition, nearly a third of the CIOs surveyed report having no women in IT management positions.
Despite the low numbers, just 52 percent of those surveyed believed women are underrepresented in their IT departments.
Overall, the study found that both male and female CIOs have a renewed focus on improving time-to-market of new products and services, enabling mobile commerce and increasing budgets.
“This year’s survey shows that U.S. CIOs are shaking off the bunker mentality that held them captive the past few years since the Great Recession, and they are beginning to focus on strategic growth activities again,” said Robert J. Miano, president and CEO of Harvey Nash USA.
According to the study, more than half of U.S. CIOs report increases in their budgets this year, up 12 percentage points from last year. Nearly 50 percent are expecting another budget bump in the next year.
The research shows a shifting change in the role of CIOs. Today, more than 30 percent of CIOs report directly to the chief executive, up more than 10 percentage points since 2010. Also, nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said the role of the CIO has become more strategic in recent years.
"CIOs now have a seat at the executive table," Miano said. "Companies are realizing the power of bringing the CIO into the conversation at the highest level, and the need for strategic, technically savvy counsel from the CIO."
A top concern among CIOs is the ability to retain their top IT talent. According to the study, enterprise architecture is the most needed skill for U.S. organizations, rising 5 percentage points since last year. In addition, more than a quarter of all U.S. CIOs are seeking additional talent in the mobile space.
The study was based on surveys of 2,400 senior IT professionals from around the world.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.