The number of women in Singapore working in technology - a profession still seen as dominated by men - is booming, specialist recruitment firm Robert Half said yesterday.

Releasing the results of a survey it conducted, the firm said 49 per cent of companies here have recruited more women for technology roles during the last five years.

The survey approached 901 chief technology officers (CTOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) in eight countries.

There were 100 respondents from Singapore, 27 of whom were women.

The biggest increase in female technology professionals occurred in mid-sized companies with between 150 and 499 employees, with 62 per cent of these companies having added more women in technology roles.

The survey did not say how big these increases were or whether they kept pace with the hiring of male counterparts.

In smaller companies - those with between 50 and 150 employees - 44 per cent have employed more women in technology roles.

In firms with 500 or more employees, 40 per cent reported an increase in female technology professionals on their payrolls.

Of the eight countries surveyed, Australia has the most significant record, with 65 per cent of companies having employed more women in technology roles, followed by the United Kingdom (52 per cent).

The country where women technology professionals are struggling to make their presence felt is Japan, said Robert Half.

While 31 per cent of Japanese companies say they have employed more female technology professionals, 32 per cent of companies reported a decrease.

Stella Tang, managing director of Robert Half Singapore, said there has been a noticeable increase in both the quantity and quality of women looking to fill senior technology roles.

"The glass ceiling is definitely cracking for women in technology leadership roles," she said.

"The rise of women in technology leadership roles represents an increase in the number of women choosing to make technology their career," Ms Tang pointed out.

"From our experience, Singapore companies are happy to employ the best person for the job regardless of gender, so the more female candidates there are, the greater the chance of women getting chosen for senior positions."

When asked what could most effectively increase female representation in the technology sector, 38 per cent of CTOs and CIOs surveyed by Robert Half said this could happen only if more women are attracted to take up technology education courses.

About 26 per cent of the respondents said mentoring is essential in developing women technology leaders.

Government initiatives were also seen as important by 22 per cent of the CTOs and CIOs.

However, the showcasing of successful women IT leaders (preferred by 8 per cent of the respondents) and women industry groups (preferred by 6 per cent) were not seen as being particularly effective in encouraging more women to take up IT leadership roles.