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Why encouraging women to work in the tech industry must be viewed as a long-term investment

diverse group of women working in office of tech firm.

ARTICLE SUMMARY

We caught up with Jen Lucas, Chief People Officer at Tricentis, to find out why encouraging more women into the tech industry is vital and what more can be done to increase female representation.

IT’S NOT NEW NEWS THAT THE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY FACES A CHALLENGE WHEN IT COMES TO GENDER REPRESENTATION ACROSS THE WORKFORCE.

The tech sector has one of the lower percentages of women making up the workforce, similar to the construction and automotive industries. The positive news is that there are several things that can be implemented to help make a positive change.

Jen Lucas, Chief People Officer at Tricentis

Jen is a seasoned human resources executive with over 20 years of experience leading teams across all HR functions. She specialises in leading large-scale growth and change, mergers and acquisitions, driving peak performance, talent acquisition, and total rewards.

SUCCESS STARTS WITH HAVING A LONG-TERM MINDSET.

Getting women into the tech industry must be viewed as a long-term investment, and there are several ways to have an impact. We need to improve visibility and awareness when it comes to available jobs and careers. Larger companies and other industries place a lot of emphasis on campus recruitment and have a strong presence.

In the tech industry, a lot of small and mid-sized businesses make up the bulk of the sector, so there needs to be a focus on how both the overall industry and individual businesses can ensure visibility of the tech sector as an attractive place to work and build a career. Improving understanding of technology careers has an impact across different sized businesses.

Part of increased visibility includes highlighting of the gamut of career paths available to women within the tech industry. It is easy to associate the sector with highly technical roles such as software development that require involvement within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) programs from an early age. We should absolutely commit to and invest in STEM! However, there are a lot of jobs within the sector that don’t require engineering backgrounds. We need to raise awareness of this and make sure that working in technology isn’t solely associated with being an engineer.

The participation of young girls and women in STEM has risen in recent years but is still not close to the percentage of females in the general population. Understanding why this is the case so when this divergence starts to happen in schools, we are better equipped to know how to keep the attention and interest of girls as they become young women – and therefore increase workforce participation. At Tricentis, this is an area we are committed to exploring through a new college recruitment program in 2023 across our R&D and sales departments, for example.

Another key factor to consider is what is being done to keep women who are in the tech sector within the workforce longer term. This means ensuring that workforce practices are set up to encourage women to stay during and after important life milestones such as having children.

In the US for example, the labour participation rate in general has decreased over the last three years. Many more women than men have left the workforce during that timeframe. So it’s more important than ever to make working conditions and programs attractive, particularly post-pandemic in an evolving work environment.

We also need to be much more compelling with the story we tell about what it is like to work at a tech company. That means clear emphasis around what strengths are needed to be successful, and how best to appeal to women at various stages of their career in order to address misplaced perceptions.

Being vocal about what it’s like to work at a tech company, and the excitement of working in the industry is more important now than ever before given the dynamic nature of the technology business landscape. We’ve all seen recent reports about layoffs at technology companies of all sizes. When layoffs happen, it’s often an inflection point for people – including deciding if they are going to stay in the workforce or industry. Giving people a clear reason to work in tech, for the first time or to choose it again after a job change, is vital.

As a company grows and matures, there is typically more of an emphasis on bringing women into the workforce. However, as referenced earlier, the technology industry is far more than just the tech giants, and there is a lot of excitement and satisfaction that comes with building a tech business from small to mid-size, or from mid-size to large scale.

Working for a small or mid-sized company is very different than working for a large enterprise. Tech businesses need to consider how to create that appeal for women at each stage of a company’s size and scale. The ideal or desired approach is to develop young girls and women to compete in the workforce and be the best candidate they can be. If we can do this, everything else takes care of itself.

If you’re interested in attracting and hiring a more diverse workforce, then get in touch with SheCanCode below!

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