Five ways we can all support equality in IT services
Recent research from Women in Tech showed that only one in six tech specialists in the UK are women, only one in ten are IT leaders, and that despite growth in the number of women working in IT roles, female representation in the tech sector has stalled over the last 10 years. These statistics reiterate the well-known fact that IT services is similarly a male dominated sector where men still hold most leadership positions.
In my 25 years in IT services, I have seen gradual changes with more women entering the sector and more importantly, more women in senior roles. However, it is clear we still have a long way to go and we need to speed things up, so we don’t miss out on the array of female talent that is available.
There is no doubt that prejudices and bias do still exist, and change is too slow, as we are only now reaping the rewards of women who (like me) entered the sector 20 years ago and are now in leadership roles. Driving the equality agenda in IT services is not just a women’s issue, it is a business and societal issue, and senior leaders are in an influential position to make the necessary changes. Here’s five key actions we can all take:
Be an inclusive employer
At Transputec, we strive to have diverse teams across the business. This diversity was one of the reasons that attracted me to work here and I know that future employees will also look for this. Over the last few years, I have personally endeavoured to get a balanced management team together and I’m proud to have award winning female managers and role models in my team. And, as we support global organisations, we always aim to attract the best talent to serve our customers – wherever they are located and whatever their gender.
We as a company continue to strive to be an inclusive employer and create a culture which supports our people and our customers, and we do this through our mentoring programs and the Transputec Academy.
Remote and flexible working patterns
The IT services sector can still seem unattractive to women and this may stem partly from the long office working hours that the 24/7 managed services sector demands. There is a lot we can learn from the other sectors who perhaps have a better gender balance across their IT divisions – this may be due to a better work life balance amongst other reasons we should learn from. Perhaps the recent seismic shift to remote and flexible working patterns could galvanise us all to sprint ahead and mark the start in changing these roles.
Attract the next generation of IT talent
We need to work to demonstrate the value of a career in IT Services to feed the pipeline of the next generation of women working in IT. IT is not just about tech, but customer experience, digital business transformation, and innovative business solutions. As well as being a growth sector, I passionately believe it is an aspirational and exciting career choice. All IT businesses should be striving to recruit a diverse range of employees to deliver their strategy.
Be a male IT ally
Most male IT leaders and employees do not set out to discriminate against women. However, if we want to build an inclusive environment, it’s important to take an active role in supporting them and raise awareness about the challenges women face. We must seek to identify any unconscious biases we see – from the language used in job adverts right through the whole employee experience. It is our collective responsibility to challenge everyday moments as well as change any discriminating business systems and processes.
There are a multitude of reasons that men should get involved and be allies to women. Not only is the right thing to do, it also makes smart business sense.
Choose to challenge
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Choose to Challenge. It is up to all of us to do this – and be part of the solution that will make us as an industry and a society more successful. Diversity at all intersections makes smart business sense as it enables companies to create better services and products that serve the needs of all of society. So, let’s all make the choice to challenge, celebrate women’s achievement, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality in our sector.
If you are interested in learning more about joining our growing team at Transputec, you can see our latest vacancies here.