By David Stone, CEO of MRL Consulting Group
While there have been huge strides made in order to bring equality into workplaces across the UK and the US, there is still a way to go – especially within the tech sectors.
Global tech recruiters MRL are on a mission to champion women in the tech industry. In order to get some real insight, they asked a selection of incredible women to talk about their experiences of diversity within the industry and the challenges they have faced throughout their careers.
As a result, they have compiled a list of key changes that the tech industry can implement in order to encourage and support diversity within the sector.
- Promote Women to Rightful Senior Positions
Dr Anjali Subburaj, Chief Architect of Mars, said “Talented women in technology are often relegated to being Salieris, I would like to see them get acknowledgement and rightful reward as the Mozarts that they are!
“A woman in a technical role needs to believe that she is in that role because she is at least twice as good as her male colleagues. I would like to see women believing in themselves, no matter what.
“Men are comfortable mentoring women in technology into junior to middle level positions. However, very few come forward to sponsor women to help them to progress to the most senior positions. We need more visible women at the most senior positions in the technology industry.”
- Improve Gender-Disaggregated Data Capture
Hannah Marcus, Associate Director of Discover.ai, said “I would like to see more empathetic design built into technology products, regardless of sector.
“I also would like everyone to read ‘Invisible Women’ by Caroline Criado Perez, and then look at the ways in which they are or are not capturing gender-disaggregated data, and for them to do better.
“And I would like, off the back of that, to see more empathetic design built into technology products, regardless of sector.
If a piece of technology isn’t working for your primary user group, the response should not be to blame the user and try to change their behaviour, but to change the technology to be more in line with what people actually need.
“A technology that functions perfectly when you test it once may work very differently when someone is using it 30 times a day whilst trying many other things. I would love to see more integration between the user and the developer, and more empathy being factored into technological design, ultimately leading to better tech that does genuinely helpful things for more people.”
- Encourage Multi-Disciplinary Teams
Kerry Harrison, Co-Founder of Tiny Giant said “I’d like to see more diverse and multi-disciplinary teams in the tech sector. More women and people of colour in our teams. If our AI models are being trained and built by white, middle class males, the technologies that emerge from that are likely to be less inclusive. With more diverse teams, problems with race or gender bias for example, can be called out or questioned at the design stage.
“In the same way, I think multi-disciplinary teams are also important. We need developers and engineers, yes. But I believe we also need creatives, ethics experts, social scientists, those who bring different perspectives and who really understand the implications of new technologies on people and wider society. Without that understanding, we’re more likely to release technology that may solve one particular problem, but then have a negative impact on certain people in society, or on society as a whole.”
- Listen to Unbiased Perspectives
Sonia Dorais, CEO of Chaser, said “I would like to see more people from non-traditional finance backgrounds come into the industry to add an unbiased perspective.
“For example, from the marketing perspective, many fintechs could do with better branding. Modern marketing tools like gamification can make mundane tasks like receivables or budgeting appear exciting and more enjoyable to end users.”
Next Steps Toward a Diverse Workplace
A spokesperson for global recruitment agency MRL, said “If we’re going to truly champion diversity and equality within the tech sector, the best people to ask for advice are the women who have first hand experience of working in the industry.
“At MRL, we are constantly striving to be better, and getting insight like this is invaluable. Businesses should be paying attention to what women are telling them about the challenges they face and how they can be tackled.
“Women have been an intrinsic part of the tech industry for decades, and it’s time for that to be rightly acknowledged and appreciated. These are just a few small steps that can be taken, which could potentially make a significant difference.”