Publication Details

Roberts, M. R. H., McGill, T. J. & Hyland, P. N. (2012). Attrition from Australian ICT degrees - why women leave. Proceedings of the Fourteenth Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE2012) (pp. 15-24). Melbourne: Australian Computer Society.


Student attrition is of particular concern in the field of ICT because the industry faces staffing shortfalls, generally and a noticeable lack of female employees. This paper explores the reasons female students give for leaving their ICT courses. An online survey of early leavers from four Australian universities was conducted. The results show that, for many students, it is a combination of issues that leads to their withdrawal. Contrary to expectations, few female ex-students had experienced serious life events that necessitated their withdrawal or indicated that negative behaviour or attitudes had contributed to their decision to leave. More commonly female participants cited reasons associated with their lack of expected background knowledge. Recommendations are made to address issues that could be mitigated by university action.