Tech Takeover: A focus on females in tech
22 October 2021
Author: Kirsty Whyte
Women in tech online, reports that only 19% of the people working in tech in the UK are female. Even though the tech industry is becoming more diverse and companies are creating resource groups to help them grow their diverse team, the gender gap still exists.
This is an important focus for us as our technology teams continue to grow. On our journey to be more diverse and inclusive, we have worked hard to ensure we attract the right talent across the board. This has resulted in us improving our gender pay gap and expanding the skills and knowledge of our technology colleagues. Today, we’re proud that our gender diversity is a 40% female split for Management roles, a 20% female split for Territory Managers and a 20% female split for Evangelist roles. We aim to ensure we’re improving this year on year as we align ourselves with other companies like tech giant Microsoft. Their figures from 2020 highlight that they had 29.7% of women in roles globally.
To find out more, we spoke to 3 of our tech colleagues Lindsay Hey, Customer Development Director Lindsay Hey, Customer Development Director, Alicia Smith, EMEA Readiness & Influence Operations Manager for Microsoft at McCurrach and Sonam Kumari, Development Manager for Microsoft at McCurrach about what being a female in tech means to them.
What work is being done to ensure McCurrach are attracting female talent in tech?
Lindsay Hey, Customer Development Director
This has been a focus for me personally since joining the business 6 years ago. I came from a male dominated sector into a business that is more gender balanced. However, there weren’t as many females progressing through the ranks as I'd expect. Since then, we’ve adopted a multi-prong strategy, across the entire business and when it come to our tech teams. There isn’t one magic bullet that is going to provoke an increase in the number of females working in tech and seeing them being more engaged. We’ve developed a toolkit and this includes everything from celebrating role models that are working within tech and showcasing what they’ve done and how they’ve done things differently, to helping people identify with that and think “I could see myself in that position in the future”. From a practical point of view, in our recruitment we had been using images that were largely male-dominated and weren’t really attracting a good gender balance. We’ve changed all that and now we often use videos as much as we can to show how we present ourselves so that people can see a day in the life rather than a set of standard requirements.
Historically, a lot of people say that the difference in gender is that a male will see ten things on a CV, have seven of these things and think that he is qualified for the job. Meanwhile, a female will identify with nine of these requirements and not apply because she thinks she’s unqualified. It’s about understanding and being hyper-aware of what attracts different people when recruiting new talent into your business. It’s recognising that there are considerations such as talking about flexible working arrangements to suit those females with different responsibilities to show that we are welcoming of these conversations. Ultimately, they are the talent that we want and we’re quite happy to be flexible as an organisation to be able to attract that. We’re still committed to both tracking and closing the gender pay gap; it’s particularly important to us. Especially in technology, we score relatively well vs other organisations but there’s still a job to do. It’s something that we will continue to measure as we are committed to being a more diverse and inclusive employer.
As the technology retail sector changes, how have you adopted a positive diversity and inclusion culture within the business?
Alicia Smith, EMEA Readiness & Influence Operations Manager
With consumers changing the way they shop over the past 18 months, technology in retail has adapted to delivering not only a great demo experience in store to achieve sales, but also bridging that gap online. At McCurrach, it has been a focus for us to innovate the ways we work with retailers, including those who we support online only, to deliver that same quality customer journey from the point of interest to purchase, or to influence how retail colleagues perceive the brand. Within that we have had to consider diversity in the content we put out, for things like demo videos, training content, scripts, imagery and the actual training content itself. Involving the women in the team in these projects and making sure they have a voice that can be heard, has really made an impact in continuing our diversity and inclusion positive culture. Upskilling women in our team elevates them and encourages them to feel valued, which in turn helps us identify with the female retail colleagues better in training to help them sell more.
What has your journey been like as a female in tech at McCurrach?
Sonam Kumari, Development Manager
I started with McCurrach nearly 6 years ago. Back in 2015 there were only 3 females on the whole account for Microsoft. The diversity within the team was so limited and majority of the team were male due to the nature of the tech industry. The team has now evolved so much since then and we have more females applying for roles across the entire team to become part of one of the biggest tech brands in the industry. Our team is forever growing and it’s amazing to be a part of the management team in my role as a Development Regional Manager. This is a position where I can inspire other females to continue to grow into the roles they want, help the team become better and stronger, as well as encouraging other females to apply for the roles via social platforms.
Alicia Smith, EMEA Readiness & Influence Operations Manager
In my journey through my years with Mccurrach, I’ve seen the technology side of the business go from strength to strength. It’s been an amazing place to grow with many opportunities. These are not just within our own account but in ensuring best practice is shared and the people across McCurrach are heard. It really is a people focused business, and with tech you have to be dynamic and ambitious – this is something McCurrach has proven it can do by adapting to the fast paced environment of tech in retail. Being a woman in tech, your ambition can sometimes be misinterpreted as arrogance, and outdated stereotypes give the impression we aren’t dynamic. This can make it difficult to elevate to a senior position if people have unconscious bias or you’re battling against someone’s preconceptions. So, that’s why we have been working hard to balance the gender split, to ensure that women are well represented and that we all feel empowered to achieve our potential.
Throughout our entire business we are committed to diversity and inclusion and closing the gender pay gap. Every year we take bigger strides towards our goals and are proud of the progress we’re making. We are particularly proud of our progress in tech where it is a typically a male dominated industry, so we’d like to say thank to our female colleagues for inspiring others and we’d encourage any females who have an interest in this space to reach out to speak to one of the team or apply for a role.
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