A new report into female participation in science and technology has found that thousands of jobs risk going unfilled if the number of women entering the sector does not increase.

The study by Accenture found that many girls in secondary schools do not pick science-related subjects because they regard them as more suitable for boys.

It is estimated there are 188,000 people working in the information and technology sectors at present, with women accounting for 25%.

That is the same proportion of females who studied higher-level physics for the Leaving Certificate last year.

To investigate why those numbers are so low, female students, their teachers, and their parents were asked about their thoughts on studying science-related subjects in secondary school.

The study found 44% of the girls said the subjects were more suitable for boys and there were perceptions the subjects were overly difficult and "not cool".

The report's authors suggest better career information should be made available to show the opportunities studying the subjects can bring.

They also suggest setting up a National Women in Science and Technology Awards to create greater awareness. They say industry should become more involved in work placement initiatives