Anyone who has read previous blogs and tweets for me will know that like many peers, I am all about inclusive work environments, but as part of that I am a public advocate of progressing women in technology at all levels. Having asked the HR Tech Europe sponsors a variety of questions (Part 1 what they are doing at HR Tech, Part 3 What they think is happening in the market and what are they doing to support it), I also asked the question “What are you doing in your organization to support the development of women in technology?” Due to the level of responses I decided to run a specific piece with the answers to just this question, with the hope that we can continue the discussion in a broader way after the conference.
The majority of the companies that responded suggested that they had roughly a 50/50 split within the company between male and female. Zucchetti went as far as 50% women on every level whereas Benify still struggle to find more women developers.
Whilst many companies have no formal programs at present, they do suggest a history of elevating women to leadership positions in technical professions. Across all companies a variety of initiatives were suggested for promoting women in technology positions: –
- Recruiting fairs for women
- Strong mentors for other women in tech both internally and externally
- Campus recruiting efforts that focus on girls/women in the STEM education paths
- Networking within the local and national communities through organizations like Girls Who Code for example
- Celebrate ‘women’s day’ every day to empower female employees
WomenInTech in practice
“I have spent the majority of my career in Human Resources but suddenly, with my new role at ServiceNow, I am a ‘woman in technology’. This is thrilling for me and I am excited to be surrounded by so many talented women who are helping organizations across the globe leverage technology to change the way they work and improve business outcomes. Many of my colleagues, both men and women, have been talking a lot lately about creating forums for women in technology to learn from and support each other. There will be a lot more to come on this topic. Jen Stroud, General Manager HR Applications, ServiceNow
“Kathy Cannon, as company Founder among many other things, has been and continues to be a fantastic example and leader promoting women in a vast array of technical opportunities. And interestingly in the APAC operations all the senior leadership positions are held by women (Director or Development, Director of Client Services, Sales Director).” WorkForce Solutions
“As a female CEO in the tech world, it has always been a priority of mine to lead by example and show others that women can successfully build a tech business from the ground up. I believe that diversity makes a company stronger, which is why 50% of my company – as well as 50% of my leadership team – are female.” Brynne Herbert, CEO and Founder of MOVE Guides
“Presently our senior leader for knowledge management – Aasonn’s brain trust – is a woman, as is the head of marketing, the leader of our HR Transformation team (strategy), the VP of Global Sales, and the head of our newest business, the Employee Cloud.”
“The Oracle Women in Leadership (OWL) group promotes women in technology and leadership roles, both internally at Oracle and to the outside world. This group is committed to making a positive change and has the experience and the evangelists to do it. OWL creates mentors and champions to further the cause of women in leadership and technology roles, as well as helping develop a more diverse leadership which better reflects our evolving customer profiles helping the sales process and boosting customer satisfaction. In just eight years, OWL has grown to over 50 OWL communities globally, led by women from Oracle’s senior management. There are OWL communities in 20 countries worldwide – 14 of which are in EMEA, and the group hosts more than 250 events each year for its employees, customers and partners. OWL encourages Oracle employees to not only be role models within the organisation but to do what they can to inspire future generations. Oracle includes a number of very senior women board members including CEO Safra Catz, CMO Judy Sim, chief security officer Mary Ann Davidson and SVP General Counsel & Secretary Dorian Daley.”
“While the technology industry is male-dominated, Textkernel has a lot of female employees. Textkernel offers a great and flexible workspace with part-time jobs available. This allows women (but also men) to combine their (new) family with a great job.”
“Embracing and encouraging diversity has been at the top of the agenda for many years now. For example, within Mining and Refining, a traditionally male dominated industry, we are working with our clients to enable them to source jobs to specialist social communities including LinkedIn Groups to better target and attract women into these roles. Likewise, our Analytic dashboards report on diversity across sourcing, assessment, selection and also post hire through performance reviews and succession plans. In our own organisation we have a good gender balance – our CEO is female, women represent 50% of the executive team and we have a strong pipeline of female middle and senior managers.” PageUp
“We now hire more women than before, especially in development. We believe in a flexible career path for women, so we can continue to employ the most talented individuals whilst allowing them a work-life balance. We work with flexitime and allow work days from home. We also attempt to get more men on board gender inequality committees.” OrgVue
In the US women comprise only around a quarter (26 percent) of the computing workforce. Pluralsight, CEO Aaron Skonnard is passionate about addressing this deficit in female representation in the tech industry. In a recent column written by Aaron for Inc in Feb 2015, he outlined 3 main areas that companies should be focusing on to attract and then retain more women in the technology industry and which are already being practiced at Pluralsight. They are:
- Monitor your recruitment policies – Getting more women on board begins at the recruiting stage. You must go beyond expressing a commitment to gender diversity in position announcements, though this is an important first step. You must also ensure that both women and men are on search committees and participate in interview panels.
- Be sensitive to informal systems and behaviours -Culture is very important. At Pluralsight, we work hard to create a no-fear culture where everyone feels welcome; people can’t feel like entrepreneurs, which is one of Pluralsight’s core values, if they are constantly watching their backs!
- Rethink your benefits and incentives – Work life balance is important to women and men!To attract and retain more female workers companies need to think in terms of policies and benefits packages that can help your entire workforce. For example Pluralsight is one of a growing movement of global companies that offers unlimited paid time off. When people are free to take care of their priorities outside the office, it creates a culture of engagement.