At Outsource UK, we are proud of our diversity, with 49% of sales, back office, account management and leadership roles taken up by females. As a technical workforce solutions provider, my colleagues and I are frequently asked by our customers how we can support them in improving their gender diversity and we wouldn’t be taking care of our customers and candidates if we didn’t work with you to address these concerns and make vital changes. As one of our speakers said recently, we all have a duty to send the elevator back down for those ladies on the floors below us.
Of course, there are many ways to improve candidate attraction, such as avoiding masculine terminology and cutting down on potentially off-putting desirable skills, however; what’s crucial is that only 3% of female students would consider a career in technology as their first choice, across the UK only 15% of the STEM workforce is female and 78% of female students can’t name a famous female working in technology!
These statistics alone were enough to make me realise that the attraction stage is too late:
- What’s the point in tailoring your job adverts to attract more females, if the females aren’t reading the adverts?
- Why is this evolving, innovative and creative industry so misunderstood?
- Why are we not selling technical careers to our future female workforce?
It quickly became apparent that something needed to change and from here, Inspiring Women in Technology was launched.
From the outset, we had two clear aims:
- To bring together a peer group of female leaders within engineering, logistics, defence, cyber and financial services for knowledge sharing and brainstorming
- To invite our community of female students, and those returning to a career, to put their questions and concerns to our experienced panel of female leaders
For the right impact, guest interaction was key. Prior to the event, all of our attendees gave us feedback on their concerns about embarking on a career in technology and those misconceptions were cleared up during a lively and informal evening of encouraging conversation.
No question was out of bounds for our 6 panellists and the very inspirational Caroline Carruthers certainly put Big Data on the map! Some truths were shared:
- Yes, working in investment banking may mean long days….so, organise your days and prioritise.
- Yes, some may think you got the role because you are female…so, have confidence in your abilities, prove them wrong.
- Yes, you may feel or even know that you are underpaid…be tenacious, do your research and challenge it.
- Yes, you may be under-represented in the office….so, keep the conversation going, spread the word: “engineering is fun, it’s sexy, and it pays well”
So, get involved in this groundswell – we’re busy planning our next event, which will be in Manchester in the autumn. Follow #OUKwomenintech for updates and let us know what you would like to hear more about.
If you would like to discuss joining the panel for our next event or would like more information on candidate attraction for your business, contact the Outsource Diversity and Inclusion Team on 01793 430021 or at [email protected]
Claire Farrow, Inspiring Women in Technology,
Published on 19th June 2017 by Claire Farrow CertRP Programme Manager for key financial services accounts – Outsource UK