Importance of Women in Tech
Despite the huge drive behind gender diversity, we still see inequalities in business and the tech world is no different. Women account for only 17% of UK based tech roles and whilst there is a historical shortage of female Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) talent, businesses need to get better at promoting a fair workplace where women can excel and succeed alongside their male counterparts. Last year myself and some of our team attended the Women of Silicon Valley Roundabout Conference where there were in excess of 4,000 attendees, mostly women, this is some proof at least that we can no longer account the lack of gender diversity in tech to a shortfall in female talent.
In addition to this, the UK is experiencing the lowest unemployment rates since the 1970’s, meaning we need to be leveraging all the available talent, attracting it into EV Cargo Technology, as well as driving our internal talent to progress and develop.
As diversity and equality in talent management is key to the progression and survival of EV Cargo Technology as a software business, we have given focus to 3 key areas that align to elements that are often important to women: flexibility, pro-active discussions around leave for parents and talent development.
Balancing for Better
It always surprises me when I hear about businesses that do not promote, or even allow flexibility for employees, let alone those that take it away. Not only does flexibility allow employees to have a better work life balance but it is a key facilitator when attracting and retaining people, in particular women. As a society, we are still on a journey to balance for better, meaning women often still take the primary role in caring for young and elderly family members. Enabling our people to work flexibly as part of EV Cargo Technology life, means that colleagues who do need to work alternative or reduced hours and work from home, have the ability to do so, balancing work and family commitments more easily, and not standing out as “different” when they operate in this way, as it is part of our culture.
Another focus area for us has been promoting Shared Parental Leave, which was introduced in 2015 with a view to breaking down some of the stereotypes I mentioned above relating to care of children. It allows a more equal partnership for parents who want it, when caring for their new arrival. This leave can be complex, so our People Operations team pro-actively take time to discuss it as an option with employees. As a small business, during the past 3 years, over 30% of employees that have welcomed new children into their family have taken advantage of this to some extent. Compared to a national uptake of only 2-3%, I feel this is positive for society and our people alike in the effort to balance for better.
Finally, continuous development of the team and ensuring a fair and equal approach to progression has enabled us to retain some of our top female talent, In fact, 46% of the career moves and promotions in the last 12 months, across EV Cargo Technology were to female colleagues. Of course, I would like to be able to say it was a truly equal 50% but we’re working on it! In part though, I feel the 46% representation has been down to more openness around our vacancies and specifically directing vacancies towards our current workforce when we believe the talent is already there. We also make sure all of the internal applicants undertake an interview for the role, so whilst we do have to encourage applications at times, once all applications are submitted, the playing field is equal. This method also allows us to talent surf internally so we can effectively succession plan and offer development where needed for future vacancies.
Whilst this is all positive, we could always do more in the balance for better. I’d like to see more women in our leadership team, we are taking the steps to get there and I’m sure we will see results in the coming years. EV Cargo Technology are also taking a journey towards better career management for employees, which I expect to result in more discussions around career ambitions, mentoring and ultimately, ensuring our talent all have an equal opportunity for success.