Our recruitment service

claire goodwin

Claire Goodwin, who is heading up the Women in Technology Recruitment Services

With the success of our job board and networking events, womenintechnology.co.uk now has a growing community of almost 6000 people – so thanks for being a part of it! We’ve helped many women in or interested in technology find new jobs in the industry and now we’re stepping up those efforts a bit more.

Over time we’ve had more and more clients – and jobseekers – tell us that they found our job board and career portal a useful tool, but that they wanted more assistance in the recruitment process. With a person handling everything from applications to offers, everyone’s lives are made a bit easier. So, that’s what we’re pushing in 2010.

Women in Technology Recruitment Services now has a team of four experienced recruiters and we want to build upon the success of womenintechnology.co.uk to continue helping increase the flow of female candidates into IT. There are so many firms out there who would love to hire more technical women but they just can’t find them. We’re here to give organisations access to a wider and more diverse talent pool. While we are best placed to source female talent, our short lists will reflect the diverse make-up of the workplace and will include high calibre male IT professionals too – men haven’t been put off using us if we have a job they’re interested in! What’s more, many men think it’s a great idea as they work in all male teams and appreciate that women can bring different skills to the table.

For more information about women in technology’s recruitment services please visit: http://www.womenintechnology.co.uk/recruitment-services or email Claire Goodwin, cgoodwin@womenin.co.uk.

Diversity in IT – your free report

At womenintechnology.co.uk we often get asked to participate in new research or comment on particular issues. I was recently contacted by Forrester who were putting together a report on diversity in IT. As a thank you for putting them in touch with the womenintechnology network, they have offered us access to free copies of the report. It is US focused, and you’ll have to register, but it’s a quick (and free!) process and it’s an interesting read that reinforces many of the things that we have been saying.

I especially liked the idea of changing the language of job descriptions to attract more women, and to use more competency based interviewing, which allows interviewees to highlight their soft skills and give examples of how they have tackled a particular situation (allowing employers to separate those who really can walk the walk from those who can just talk the talk.) Both these things would help female candidates who are generally not as good as men at selling their skills and abilities.

To read more, download your free copy of the “Fostering A More Diverse Infrastructure And Operations Department” here: www.forrester.com/womenintechnology.

Leadership in Challenging Times

Get rid of the boys’ club attitude!

That was the main message from female technologists at our recent event – Leadership in Challenging Times. Held in association with WeAreTheCity, the event was hosted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in London and had a great turnout – thanks to everyone who attended!

As always, we asked attendees to answer a few sign up questions before the event, and as always we got some interesting and informative responses. The main message to come from the female technologists was that to increase female leadership we need to get rid of the boys’ club, appreciate diversity and support more flexible working. Here some other key findings:

  • 68% of attendees considered themselves to be a leader within their organisation
  • 93% agreed that men and women’s leadership styles differ
  • 63% believed that communication skills are the most important core competency for authentic leadership

When we asked the attendees what businesses could do to increase the number of female leaders, many said there needed to be more education in the workplace about the variations in men and women’s leadership styles, and that these differences should be embraced. Flexible working and coaching / mentoring were other popular suggestions to increase female leadership. Here is what a few women had to say:

  • “Discourage stereotypes that make women feel they need to behave like men in order to progress”
  • “[We need] awareness and identification that women lead in a different way and a better understanding about what women can bring to the table”
  • “Find a way of making family and business needs work in tandem rather than against each other
  • “Introduce mentoring and coaching within organisations, without a doubt. The culture of some organisations needs to shift from the competitive to the collaborative.”
  • “I consider myself a leader but struggle to be in a leadership position due to the nature of my male dominated organisation”
  • “Re-train male and female core competencies to all execs.”
  • “Get rid of the boys’ club attitute to promoting and hiring. Most people promote people like them – there needs to be more of an objective approach to promotions.”

Do you agree with these women? Are these the right steps to be taken? Would they improve the number of women in leadership? Leave your thoughts here!

Mothers Betrayed?

I have to confess to being more than a little disappointed at the views expressed by Nichola Pease  in the press recently suggesting that women were ‘wrecking their careers’ by taking their full 12 months maternity leave.  Ms Pease , who a mother of three is deputy chairman of JO Hambro was giving evidence to a treasury select committee investigating sexism in the City.  “Legislation  is turning into a nightmare – I think we have got too long maternity leave – a year is too long!”  She also felt that the practice in Norway, where businesses are required by law to give 40% of their board positions to women, are flawed.

What really disappoints me is the implied view that the legislation we have in place is there in some way to pander to the fact that women have children.  What about the business case for harnessing and retaining the skills that so many women have in the workplace?  And what about the hard evidence?  US research has shown that Fortune 500 companies with the highest proportion of female directors are more profitable and efficient than those with the lowest. And according to research by McKinsey, the strategy consultancy, European organisations with the highest proportion of women in influential leadership roles, showed better than average financial performance.

Perhaps Ms Pease ought to take a look! 

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The Female Economy

I read Lady Geek’s recent blog post about the ‘Female Economy’ with interest, about how women represent the biggest market opportunity in the world. With female income totalling $13 trillion, this figure is larger than the GDP of China and India combined!

female economy

This got me thinking about how this is relevant to women in the workplace, women on the board and more specifically women in technology. What these figures show, and what this article in the FT also highlights, is that women have a huge amount of purchasing power and this could be a way of helping us out of the recession. With women representing such a big proportion of society and controlling so much consumer spending, how can companies afford not to have women on their teams and management? How are predominantly male teams going to be able to relate to their customer base effectively and understand its needs? The simple answer is: they can’t. Ultimately it’s going to be the forward thinking companies that employ and promote plenty of women that will have the edge when it comes to boosting sales, keeping customers happy and staying ahead of the competition.

Do women damage the bottom line?

I recently came across an article that I read with interest – as it goes against much of the research and most of the opinions that I’ve come across!

According to the London School of Economics and Political Science, having more women on a board can improve governance as women are better at monitoring and more likely to attend meetings. However it also says there is a correlation between firms with more female board members and low profitability, which “suggests in well-governed companies, governance could have a negative effect.”

So basically this research shows that because women are more efficient in their work, organisations are suffering? Surely this signals that corporate governance needs to be re-assessed, not that women damage profitability! Besides, research from McKinsey actually shows the opposite – that the companies with more women at board level actually perform better financially.

It’s always disappointing to read pieces like this which just seem to add to the struggle for diversity. Of course we can’t generalise too much but on the whole, women do bring different skills to the table and organisations genuinely do benefit from having more diverse teams – not only in gender – but in age, race, background and so on. Let’s hope that the business world recognises this and doesn’t pay too much attention to this report!

Women of the board

The FT recently asked the question ‘are there board benefits to breaking male hegemony?’ http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e829eb68-4a3d-11de-8e7e-00144feabdc0.html.  I read this piece with interest – and although the fact that all the views are from women may mean it’s slightly biased, some interesting points are raised.

The usual arguments for having more women on the boards are that they are less likely to take risks, that they have better people skills and that more female role models are needed for the younger generation. However an interesting point made in the FT article is “groupthink” – that if a board is made up of one demographic (i.e. white, middle aged men) they will all think the same and therefore lack effective decision making skills. As the female executives of Audur Capital put it: “If all board members have similar backgrounds and have been through similar socialisation, they are more likely than not to share views and presumptions and less likely to engage in vigorous discussion and to challenge management.”

Suggestions for solving this boardroom inequality include quotas and a commitment to diversity that incorporates not only gender but age, race and experience; however quotas remain quite controversial. What are your thoughts?