Recruiting more women into roles within the technology sector continues to be to a major challenge for employers. Lisa Miles-Heal, General Manager and Chief Technology Officer of global technology company, Unleashed Software, discusses the tech gender gap, its implications and what more needs to be done.
As a woman running a global business in the tech industry, I feel a personal responsibility to encourage more women into the sector as well as recognising the business imperative in doing so. In my experience, the reasons for the tech gender gap are not clear-cut. For many women, it’s a perception or knowledge gap that often begins at an early age.
Schools, universities, industry and parents are still failing to show young people the diverse range of jobs and career options open to them in today’s world. STEM careers are highly creative, requiring understanding of people’s behaviours and team-working skills to develop tech-based solutions for the needs of modern-day society.
For many, it’s the lack of successful female tech role models that is also an obstacle. For others, it’s a lack of confidence in the value of the skills and approach that they can bring to a tech role. It’s important to communicate that not everyone has to be a programmer or a coder.
As a tech company, we need people who can build relationships with our customers, problem-solve and manage change – skills that we have no problem finding within our female hires. I want to promote what can be achieved through technology as a business enabler, as opposed to putting the emphasis on specific technical skills. At Unleashed Software, we run a highly collaborative business, not one where people sit in silence hunched over PCs.
I am very happy to say that at Unleashed Software our workforce is approaching gender parity. We have a ratio of 41% women to 59% men and we find it equally easy to hire both female and male graduates. This is not the case at higher levels of responsibility though.
It’s interesting too when I reflect on my own company’s work. In the past, inventory management has been all about physical stock control, meaning that roles in this field were largely held by men. Today, the impact of technology now means that these roles have changed to operations management – focusing on systems and solutions where problem-solving skills are essential to investigate how assets can be deployed efficiently across a business. Also, many of our customers are now female entrepreneurs, so it is important our team reflects this too.
There is a real opportunity for industry and education to work together to inspire all young people about technology careers by developing the skills required to build a rich talent pipeline. After all, the tech sector is global by nature and offers dynamic and exciting local and international careers.
Lisa Miles-Heal of Unleashed Software may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org