Accenture teams up with Stemettes to showcase careers in STEM to 1,800 girls


Careers in STEMAccenture has teamed up with not-for-profit Stemettes to host a series of events, next week, to encourage more girls to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Taking place on January 28th, across five different locations, girls aged between 11 and 15 will take part in coding workshops, and hear from speakers such as Naomi Mitchison, an IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year, and Carrie Bishop, director of Futuregov. The girls will also hear from representatives from the BBC and women in gaming.

The girls will take part in a hackathon, led by Stemettes, where they will compete using the Hakitzu Code Warriors game which requires JavaScript to choose weapons of choice.

The ‘Girls in STEM’ events will take place in London, Dublin, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Manchester reaching 1,800 students. In London and Newcastle, the attendees will participate in a crypto-analysis and code breaking workshop developed by the FBI to give an insight into digital forensics and cyber security. A virtual reality workshop and a Minecraft ‘hack jam’ which makes use of the Raspberry Pi and Python programming language will also take place.

The events follow on from Accenture’s own workshop that ran in January 2015 and was attended by 300 students.

Accenture and the Confederation of British Industry release a report last year which found despite the number of STEM vacancies rising, 46% of respondents reported a lack of skills needed to fill the positions.

AN additional Accenture survey revealed that 60% of girls aged 12 fell STEM subjects are too difficult to learn.

“It is a serious concern that girls believe that STEM subjects are too hard to learn, so the aim of our events is to showcase the applicability of these skills through interactive workshops,” said Emma McGuigan, senior managing director for Accenture Technology in the UK and Ireland.

“The speakers and workshops across the UK and Ireland aim to inspire girls and educate them about the amazing possibilities open to them.”

Olly Benzecry, country managing director for Accenture in the UK and Ireland, said: “By expanding our STEM events to five locations in 2016, we hope to encourage even more girls to commit to studying STEM subjects.

“As an employer providing STEM-based jobs, we are committed to supporting the work the government is already doing to ensure young people are excited about careers in STEM.”

"We're excited to be partnering with Accenture for the second year in a row to run such a large event for girls in STEM”, said Anne-Marie Imafidon, Stemettes.

“This year the strong attendance at so many locations shows the need for these events nationally. I'm excited to be bringing these girls on their own personal Stemette journeys, hopefully ending up in industry."

Sarah Thomas of Accenture takes the "wild card" job in tech and it pays off

Sarah Accenture Image featuredSarah Thomas always knew she wanted to work in medicine and science but after taking a “wild card” job application at Accenture she found herself in a position to take advantage of the transferable skills STEM (science, technology. engineering and maths) had to offer.

Now Managing Director, Marketing and Communications, Accenture Operations, at IT giant Accenture her career has taken her from technology to medicine and back.

She said it was the science side of medicine that first interested her at a young age: “My career wasn’t planned from an early age, but I knew I wanted to go into medicine and science and decided on pathology. I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor, so I decided to go down the science route as I had a fascination with viral diseases specifically HIV.

“It was a wild card job application at the time when I went into consulting at Accenture. That’s where I learnt about coding and programming, at Anderson Consulting, which later became Accenture.”

After a few years at Accenture ,Thomas said science was still calling her: “I went back to science and to Vienna to do my doctorate, and I worked on HIV and gene therapies at Novartis. I have always been fascinated by the way viruses evolve and the devastating impact they have on the human body.”

She later came back to London to take her Postdoctural Research Fellow specialising in cancer research at Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and then worked at the Medical Research Council.

“Then I was looking for something with a bit more of a dynamic environment and I had experience of the business world, so I ended up back at Accenture,” she added. “Networking was a big point there, as I had stayed in touch with past colleagues who let me know about available opportunities.”

Thomas said the bonus of working in STEM is that “you’re not judged in science for your gender. All that matters is that you’re an expert in your field. I haven’t found it a challenge being a woman in technology or sicence, as I’ve had some strong advocates and mentors in my career along the way.”

Accenture’s women’s network is called Accent on Gender which offers support for its female community. Accenture’s diversity agenda also features a Women’s Mentoring and Maternity Programme, a Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) programme and International Women’s Day events.

Accenture has been working hard on increasing the amount of females in senior positions at the company, with a record 723 new managing directors and senior managing directors as of December 2015. Women now account for more than 28% of new managing directors and senior managing directors, a figure that is up from 21% in 2014.

There are now more than 130,000 women at Accenture, with the firm having pledged to grow the percentage of its new women hires by 40% worldwide by 2017.

Last year 39% of Accenture’s 100,00 new hires worldwide were women.

Thomas said it is not just the women at Accenture that are in support of diversity: “There are a lot of male champions at Accenture. Having male and female mentors is great, if you can secure them, as males will always tell me how it is whether I want to hear it or not. For example, if you’re over thinking something or you are not ready for a promotion.

“You need someone who has your back and who has your best interest at heart, but will tell it to you straight too. You need both strong women and men as support as both have different tactics.”

She has also on the board of not-for-profit Dress for Success and believes that you do not have to “box yourself in” when it comes to defining your role or career.

“You have to go out and grab what’s available to you. If opportunities are there and you think you have strengths that would be suited on a particular project then you should get involved, whether it’s on your own team or across the company,” said Thomas.

She advised making a plan: “I take time to map a ‘relationships map’, which is where I make a line graph to detail people you want to meet or get to know better. I don’t immediately call them all up, but I try to make a point to sit next to them at a dinner or event or I get involved in a project that I know that person will be working on. If you make a map then it’s more front of mind.”

15 per cent discount to Women of Silicon Roundabout 2016 for WeAreTheCity readers

WeAreTheCity readers are entitled to a 15% discount to attend the Women of Silicon Roundabout 2016 event in January.

Using the code WATC15 WeAreTheCity readers receive a discount for the women in technology conference taking place in London on January 28th.Woman of silicon Roundabout 2016 Feature

Organised by Maddox Events, Women of Silicon Roundabout 2016 will offer the female technology community a day of panels and presentations to offer a voice for all those working within the industry.

The event will hear from senior technicians and engineers about their journeys so far and their perspectives for the future.

The Lead Producer of Women of Silicon Roundabout 2016, said: “This topic comes up, year on year, without major change ever occurring. Women of Silicon Roundabout 2016 aims to break this trend by supercharging the motivation and ambition of our community.

“We hope to fast-track female code slingers to managerial positions and ultimately the Boardroom.”

The agenda for the day is broken into four primary focus areas:
  • Women in Tech Leadership
  • Closing The Gender Gap
  • The Journey of a Coder
  • Inspiring Future Generations of Women in Tech

You can find out more information about this event and how to register here.

TeenTech holds event to inspire next generation of scientists, technologists and engineers

Over 500 year 8 and year 9 students descended on London’s Olympic Park for the TeenTech City event this week.TeenTech week

200 scientists, technologists and engineers gathered to showcase the rich and fulfilling careers available in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem).

Challenges were set for the students by organisations such as Barclays, BBC, Cisco, National Grid, Atkins, JVC and Samsung.

Speaking at the event, founder of TeenTech, Maggie Philbin said: “There’s a huge amount of young talent all over the UK, and yet a generation still sits in the classroom convinced subjects like maths and physics are irrelevant. TeenTech City captures the imagination of those who at one time would have dismissed a career in science – allowing them to walk away with a real understanding of how they can make a difference to the world of tomorrow.

“We owe a huge amount to the brilliant companies and universities who came together to make today an outstanding catalyst – helping students see how creative and exciting this contemporary industry can be."

Mark Boleat, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation, sponsors of the TeenTech City Event, said: “The capital is really leading the way when it comes to digital innovation, and in particular, financial technology. There are currently more FinTech employees in London and the southeast than the whole of California.

“To maintain our global position as the leading financial centre, it is vital to develop and maintain a high-skilled workforce. Events like this really help educate young people about careers in the technology and science sectors and hopefully inspire them to become the innovators of tomorrow.”

Ms Feione Cooper Art & Design Teacher at The Urswick School said: “Our school first participated in TeenTech in 2011 and ever since we have never looked back. STEM workshops are an opportunity to push the boundaries and create new initiatives in an explorative and exciting way – and the students leave thinking of different ways they can execute ideas collectively.”

The students were surveyed when they arrived at the event, with 57% saying they would consider a career in engineering. At the end of the event this figure had rose to 71%. Only seven per cent said they were considering an apprenticeship after school.

IET and Prospect unveil guide to Progressing Women in STEM roles

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Prospect have teamed up to release a guide for Progressing Women in STEM Roles.

The union for professionals, Prospect, joined forces with the IET in March to announce its plans for the guide, which supports employers working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in being able to take action to improve gender diversity and inclusion in their workforce

The guide offers employers suggestions and best practice examples on how to attract more female candidates and steps to retain them and develop their careers. Tips are also given to managers to ensure promotions are fair and how to implement a ‘return to work’ programme.

The guide also covers unconscious bias, evaluating and monitoring the progress of diversity policies, and ensuring all staff feel valued regardless of gender.

Naomi Climer, IET President, said: “Only 9% of engineering staff are women and the lack of gender diversity is contributing to skills shortages that are damaging the economy. The shocking reality is that the UK is missing out on half of its potential engineering and technology workforce by failing to attract women into the industry.

“With this in mind, the IET is leading the way in encouraging more women into the sector. We know, for example, that many employers acknowledge that the lack of women in their organisations is a real problem, and so we hope this guidance will prompt them to take practical action to address this – both in terms of how they recruit more women and how they nurture the talent of those they already employ.”

IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2015

The IET tied in the launch of its guide with the announcement of its Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2015 award

This year’s winner was an Audio Engineer called Orla Murphy from Warwickshire. Employed by Jaguar Land Rover the 25 year old collected her award at an awards ceremony in London.women with phone featured

Climer added: “The announcement of our Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2015 also has an equally important role to play when it comes to gender diversity issues. By celebrating the achievements of exceptional women like Orla, we are giving young women a role model who will show them that women can make a real difference in our sector.”

Sue Ferns, Prospect Deputy General Secretary, said: "With around 20,000 members working in STEM, we are acutely aware of both the skills challenge these roles face and their vital contribution to building a more sustainable economy. Prospect has been working hard to encourage greater recruitment and retention of women which we believe is key to tackling the emerging skills crisis. The practical guidance published today builds on this and incorporates our pioneering work with employers in tackling unconscious bias.”

Denise McGuire, Vice President of Prospect, added: “Here at Prospect we are huge advocates of promoting equality and fairness in the workplace which is why we were delighted to work closely with the IET on guidance to help women progress in STEM roles. I'm sure the guidelines will be an invaluable tool for any employer, especially those in STEM, who are looking to become more female friendly in the way they recruit and retain staff."

What does the IT industry look like for women in the US?

It’s no secret that the technology sector is male dominated, but there are some areas of the industry that need more work than others to increase diversity.

SurePayroll and design agency Ghergich teamed up to create the infographic below, which reveals gender biases, job placements, job satisfaction, college degrees, and more. It also looks at the benefits of technology companies hiring more women in tech positions.

The graphic delves into the world of women in technology in the US, by looking at the decline in tech positions held by women, the challenges women in the industry face and how organisations can help women make more of an impact in the tech sector.

In the UK women currently make up 17% of the IT industry, a figure which has been decreasing steadily overtime. See below for an overview of that the IT sector looks like for women working the industry in the US.

Monster calls on IT industry to sign TechTalent Charter to increase diversity in sector

Recruitment firm Monster has unveiled the TechTalent Charter along with the support of several industry partners, in a bid to encourage tech companies to sign up and increase the amount of diverse talent within the sector.

Initially the Charter aims to address the challenges of equality in tech roles, with a long term plan of addressing wider issues surrounding diversity in the tech sector.Female Graduate in technology

Currently there is a requirement in the UK for 745,000 tech workers by 2017 and one million by 2020 and only 17% of tech and telco workers in the UK are currently women.

With today’s launch businesses are being called upon to sign the Charter as founding signatories.

The Charter has also established six workstreams to provide support, information and guidelines to help organisations implement protocols: Best Practice in Recruitment; Best Practice in Retention; Marketing & Promotion; Annual Reporting & Measurement; Eco-system & Policy and Education & Talent Pipeline.

Sinead Bunting, Marketing Director UK & Ireland at, said: ‘With a looming digital skills gap that is critical for our economy’s growth, we need to show young people, current professionals and in particular, females, who are worryingly underrepresented in the tech workforce, that tech skills are increasingly essential to jobs and careers. We also need to highlight and remind industry that a diverse workforce will deliver tech solutions and services that will meet  their customer base needs much better and as such not only be more representative of the UK population, but more commercially successful.

“There are so many excellent initiatives and organisations working in and around this area to raise awareness and make progress, but we recognise that to truly move the dial and effect change we are stronger working as a unified collective. We have a need and an opportunity to build a dynamic, representative and commercially successful tech workforce. However we do need to rethink and change how we build our talent pipelines, how we recruit and how we retain our tech staff. The Tech Talent Charter is a way we can all work together to make that happen and that is something we at Monster and in the Tech Talent Charter steering group are incredibly excited about. Please join us to make that change a reality. We really need your participation.”

Amali de Alwis, CEO of Code First Girls said: “Encouraging talented individuals to enter the technology sector, whether as graduates or at a later stage in their career, is something I believe passionately in, and is very much at the heart of the work we do at Code First Girls. Vital technology skills, whether in coding, data science, data security or UX/UI, now play a critical role in the way we live and work. With the UK looking at a needing further one million tech workers by 2020, we all have to take a serious look at how we manage talent in our companies and update restricting incumbent behaviour which are holding us back from continued success.

“This is the reason I became so heavily involved with the Tech Talent Charter. We need to ensure we are doing all we can to support all our businesses, whilst giving the candidates themselves the confidence to get involved in this dynamic and fast growing sector. I look forward to having you all join us on that journey, and working together to drive change in UK Business to supports our continued status and a global leader in tech, innovation and talent."

Debbie Forster, Co CEO of  Apps for Good, said: “It’s no secret that there is a digital skills gap in the UK, and ensuring young people and in particular women are playing a part in helping to fill this is crucial if we are to maintain our position as a leader in the digital and technology space.

“An important aspect of achieving this is thinking carefully about how we build the talent pipeline by working with schools and businesses to ensure we are encouraging and educating girls and boys from the word go, looking at how we engage and communicate the messaging around technology careers and how we are presenting the options available to them. The Tech Talent Charter is an important document to help guide businesses through this and I’m really excited about watching the movement grow, and help shape it as more organisations get involved.”

Businesses can support the TechTalent Charter at



Inspirational Woman: Louize Clarke | Co-Founder of ConnectTVT & [email protected] Green Park

Louize ClarkeOur latest Inspirational Woman in Tech is Louize Clarke, co-founder of ConnectTVT & [email protected] Green Park. ConnectTVT is dedicated to raising the profile of entrepreneurial talent, while [email protected] Green Park offers an innovative mentoring and resource hub.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Never. I’ve always been fairly “heart on sleeve” when it comes to my career and followed my head. I have a very eclectic career history but it’s with my start-up now that I see what destiny had in store for me and why I tried my hand at a few things. While my start-up is the product of a happy accident, I believe everything happens for a reason.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

I’ve faced many challenges but ultimately, they are what drive me. If the status quo is one of tick along, I would be doing the wrong thing. That’s not to say I don’t have dark days and wonder if a simpler life would be easier. I am also very lucky to have a strong support infrastructure who always get me back on the straight and narrow quickly; a diverse team of people from the GROW Community Managers, my awesome PR lady, and a very understanding family. In my experience, a challenge is only something that you need to navigate in another way. Since working in a start-up I have a much more flexible approach to problems and don’t see the barriers I maybe did when I worked for a corporate.    The freedom and flexibility of the start-up environment has become part of my DNA.

What advice would you give someone who wishes to move in to a leadership position for the first time?

Ask yourself if that will make you happy. Too many people feel that a management step-up is the only career choice.  When I was younger I thought that being a Sales Manager was the next rung in the ladder, only to find I worked more hours, had lots more stress and spent less time at the coal face with customers, which was the bit I loved. A good question is “What do I want more of?” Doing what you love and loving what you do is so much more than a title but if you believe this the way to make the most of your talents and abilities, go for it.

On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?

It’s always early with a snatched coffee with my husband and I mostly have to help my teenage son find something he has lost! I then make sure I get outside to walk the dog. This is my thinking and planning time for the day before heading off to meetings, interviewing candidates or to my incubator [email protected] I’m not one to be a slave to routine, but I find this works. My week day evenings end with my laptop being shut- I haven’t quite mastered the art of a work life balance yet but I’m working on it.

What advice can you give to our members about raising their profiles within their own organisations?

Don’t get caught up in politics. Integrity is a much coveted asset. Just do everything to the best of your ability and don’t be afraid to put your hand up for a project that will stretch you.

How have you benefited from coaching or mentoring?

I have just taken on a mentor. I recognised that I’m sometimes too close to the business to be objective but I needed that support to work on the business rather than in it. Running your own business is brilliant but I won’t be the first person to say it can be lonely and isolating. It’s good to have someone to keep me on track and accountable to.

Do you think networking is important and if so, what 3 tips would you give to a newbie networker?

I think networking is important but at the right events. You can burn hours trawling around poor quality networking groups; often the best ones are those you come across in a natural, unforce way. . My top 3 tips are; will the speaker attract the kind of people you want to connect with? Networking events are so easy to drop out of so think about how your life works. Is a breakfast, daytime or evening event best for you and when you will be at your best, too? Finally, I would say, give without expectation. Don't approach networking with a mind-set of what you can get, rather focus on what you can give. The people I’ve learnt the most from in networking are those who take a ‘pay it forward’ approach.

What does the future hold for you?

More of the same I hope, I’ve been having a blast for the last 18 months and the opportunities just keep coming. I started ConnectTVT with a vision to get the Thames Valley back on the tech cluster map. While we still have a way to go, I am definitely feeling a shift. This process has absolutely taught me to be more fluid about my future; follow your instincts and you will get to where you need to be.

Companies need to widen the net on STEM talent to attract more females

shield-1020318_640Companies need to widen the net on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) talent if there are a lack of female Computer Science graduates coming through the pipeline, according to Christine Flounders, London R&D Manager at Bloomberg Technology Labs.

Speaking to WeAreTheCity during the WISE Conference 2015 at The Mermaid in Blackfriars last week, Flounders said: “Businesses need to figure out how to widen the net on talent in Stem. In the US you can change your mind about your studies and be hybrid. I didn’t know what I wanted to do at first and it’s not until university where you find out what you want to do and what your course actually means.”

Flounders said Bloomberg launched an enhanced bootcamp course for new employees that are not from a computer science background: “We have set up a bootcamp for new recruits to get up to date on Bloomberg and we have created an enhanced bootcamp for those who are not from a computer science background. When we go to universities, to recruit, we bring women with us.”

She studied Computer Science in New York and started at Bloomberg after graduation: “I came to London to build the London team. We’ve grown to 550 employees in 13 years with 70 different products.

“Two years ago we were at about 330 staff and I was expecting us to have employed more women by that point. I was in a position where I could do something about it and it was clear what the aspect of diversity could do for us. We had a good mix of people, but most of them were men.”

Flounders noted that a lack of women in front-end developer roles can put a company at a disadvantage when designing products: “The business case for diversity was not quite realised until about a year ago – it’s about making better products and being more competitive.

“The amount of decisions developers make are humongous, so ownership and decision making are key skills. We also have a lot of R&D initiated products so if there aren’t enough women in those roles that creates issues too.”

Threat of quotas and transparency needed to solve lack of women in Stem dilemma

A strong threat of quotas and transparency amongst businesses is necessary to move the dial on gender diversity in Science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) roles, according to a panel of experts at the WISE Conference 2015.

Speaking at the event, which took place at The Mermaid in Blackfriars, Trudy Norris-Grey, WISE Chair and managing director of Microsoft's public sector business said: “If I get given a target at work, I go after it. If you get a diversity target and continue to review the target, then you start to get a change in the culture. It’s not for fairness sake, but for business. A target should be put on the agenda and the numbers should be published.WISE_awards_logo

“Tokenism is a thing of the past. Business now there is a war for talent, so a target is a good start to encourage the women to line up for these great roles and they intern will become role models for other girls. I have an allergic reaction to anything mandatory. However, businesses need a very open threat. If you don’t do it, I will impose quotas. Do it or we’ll come in with the legislation.”

Naomi Climer, President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), agreed and said: “I’d make it mandatory – it’s been voluntary for decades and it hasn’t changed. I’d love to do it in an evolutionary way, but I’m running out of patience.

“A threat of quotas is pretty powerful.”

According to Allan Cook, non-executive director of WS Atkins the targets set by Lord Davies are a good example of targets that work.

Lord Davies published a report for the government in 2011 recommending that the boards of UK FTSE 100 companies should comprise a minimum of 25% women by the end of 2015 – a target which is on track. He also suggested that all companies should set targets to ensure more women at board level.

Cook said: “The ones who are not sure about it are the dinosaurs who are way back, because it’s a business imperative now.

“I’m against quotas, but we haven’t got the pipeline stuffed yet. If we make it into a quota system I think it will backfire on us.”

The panel was chaired by Bloomberg co-anchor, Anna Edwards. During the event Catherine Mayer, co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party, said: “Quotas are just a short term thing to get somewhere – a mechanism to get there. Then it’s important to develop and retain the people you get in through quotas. Quotas are a mechanism not an answer.

“A threat is needed rather than an immediate inquisition, but then to discuss how to retain those women throughout all stages of their careers.”

Shashi Watson, Senior Researcher at Winton Capital said she is “absolutely against quotas”.

She continued: “It’s just about letting girls know what’s out there as there will be stigma around the companies with quotas and people working there will feel like they’re being done a favour.”

Norris-Grey said she is against quotas but “prefers incentives, such as if you’re bidding for a government contract you should have some kind of diversity incentives, tax credits, etc to encourage more men and women to take up jobs that we can’t fill by the way.”

Climer agreed with incentives when bidding for contracts and said: “Make a criteria when choosing a bidder for example when I worked at Sony it was easy for me to do that in Japan, because to work with BskyB they have certain environmental criteria before you can get their business and work with them.”

“We need greater transparency in promotions, stats and pay. Businesses need to publish their gender statistics – if everyone did this it would raise the issue up on people’s agenda.”

Norris-Grey also suggested that targets should be for apprenticeships: “The government has declare its support for three million more apprenticeships, however I think at least one in three of those should be women. This will remove the biasness at the beginning to save us unravelling it in the future.”

Sex Discrimination Act 40th anniversary

Yesterday Climer, Trudy Norris-Grey, Mayer along with Christine Flounders

Research and Development Manager in London, Bloomberg wrote an open letter to the Financial Times and the London Evening Standard highlighting the 40th anniversary of the Sex Discrimination Act being passed in the UK.

The letter said: “We applaud the progress that has been made since.

But in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), progress remains slow. Women make up just 14 per cent of the UK’s STEM workforce. We want to see this be nearer 30 per cent by 2020.

The letter calls on government to create strong public policy: “We challenge the government to provide a clear commitment to accelerate diversity in our STEM industries.

“We cannot afford to wait another forty years to achieve this change.”