UK to “go back in time” if women absent from internet and tech industry says Martha Lane Fox

If women are absent from the UK internet and tech industry “we will go back in time” Baroness Martha Lane Fox said at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.Martha Lane

She made her comments whilst at the festival outlining her plans for Dot Everyone project. In April she used her Dimbleby Lecture to reveal national institution idea to make Britain “the most digital nation on the planet”, and urged the nation to sign an online petition demanding that the next prime minister gets started on building the institution.

The Telegraph reported Lane Fox as saying that the growth of the internet is the ''industrial revolution of our time'' and she hoped that the internet would level the playing for diversity.

''All that's happened is that one bunch of very rich white men have transferred their money to another bunch of very rich white men and, worse than that, they are in a very small concentrated area of the world, in Silicon Valley,'' she said.

During her Dimbleby lecture Lane Fox said Dot Everyone aims to educate on how the internet works, but it also plans to put women at the forefront of the movement, because she is concerned none of the big internet businesses relied on by the public were founded or are run by a woman.

Lane Fox added: ''I still find that really baffling. The absence of women from the teams that are making the internet, the product designers, the coders, the engineers, the absence of women in the venture capital community. 'I think it is really profoundly important because this is where the industrial revolution of our time is. If women are absent from it I think we will go back in time.

''I am perplexed by this as I genuinely thought the internet would be an empowering tool for women.”

According to Lane Fox “unconscious biasness” within the venture capital community is holding women back: ''There is a cycle of behaviour in the venture capital community which I don't think is overt sexism, I think there is some, but I don't think it is the only reason but there is a lot of unconscious bias.

''If you are a venture capitalist and you are looking at risk you are less likely to invest in someone that is not like you.”

EDF criticised for "sexist" #PrettyCurious campaign to encourage girls into Stem careers

EDF’s attempt to join the drive in encouraging more girls into science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) careers has been criticised for being sexist.

The #PrettyCurious campaign encourages girls of ages 11-16 to consider careers in the traditionally male-dominated fields of Stem, however the online campaign has raised eyebrows for its stereotypical view of female scientists.

In a statement issued by EDF on its website the energy giant said: “It’s not about being ‘pretty’; it’s about being ‘pretty curious’. Using 'pretty' is a play on words. We are using the word in the sense of 'pretty unexpected', 'pretty determined', 'pretty inventive', 'pretty focused' and 'pretty curious'.

“It's been chosen purposefully to challenge the stereotypes around personal appearance that are often applied to girls. We knew the name would attract attention and chose it in order to raise awareness of the campaign, which aims to address the significant under-representation of women in Stem.”

EDF have been criticised for not supporting an existing campaign instead, to which it responded by mentioning that it has partnered with The Times Cheltenham Science Festival for over 10 years and are the founding sponsors of the POWERful Women initiative.

In its statement EDF added: “We also work with over 19,500 schools in the UK (over 60% of UK schools) who are signed up to The Pod, EDF Energy’s award winning educational programme – and in Somerset, our Inspire Programme has connected with over 70,000 school children in 171 local schools to help students understand the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“We feel this is a critical issue – and one where we have a right to get involved given the importance of it for our business and for the UK as a whole. But we will also continue to work collaboratively with other groups to address it.”


Mortimer Spinks Technology Industry Survey 2016 launches

The Mortimer Spinks Technology Industry Survey 2016 is now open. The survey reveals how people who work in the technology industry think and feel about a whole host of issues.woman with laptop and coffee in hand

Every year recruitment consultant Mortimer Spinks runs a technology industry survey to find out insights in to businesses technology strategies. The survey results are offered to individuals as a career guide and to businesses to support their technology choices and technology talent management.

Mortimer Spinks conducts the annual survey in partnership with Computer Weekly.

Last year the survey saw over 3,000 share their views on topics such as how cautious they are with their personal data to how they feel about their current employer and what really keeps them happy at work.

For 2015 key themes included online privacy, start-up culture, technology dependence, e-mail addiction, crypto currencies, women in technology and innovation. You can read the results from last year’s survey here to gain insights into industry analysis and the tech trends of right now.

You can take the 2016 survey here.

HeForShe campaign #GetFree University Bus tour continues this week

United Nations has taken the HeForShe campaign on tour via the #GetFree University Tour, which will visit universities across the UK and France.

The HeForShe campaign was launched last year by UN Women to engage men and boys as agents of change for gender equality and women’s rights.HeForShe banner

The tour aims to meet with students, participate in panels, and bring in guest speakers from the corporate and celebrity world.

In addition the UN team plus student volunteers will be handing out leaflets to students, engaging them informally on the issue of gender equality and signing them to the HeForShe movement with IPads at

The HeForShe #GetFree University Tour will be visiting the following institutions:

  • University of Leicester, 29 September, 13:00 – 14:30
  • University of Nottingham, 30 September, 14:30-16:00
  • Instit d’et Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), 1 October, 14:45-16:45
  • University of Cambridge, 6 October, 13:30-15:00
  • London School of Economics (LSE), 7 October, 15:30-16:30
  • Imperial College London, 8 October, 14:00-15:30

Yesterday President Marie Louise Coleiro launched the UN's HeForShe campaign in Valletta, Malta. The President was chosen by the UN Women to be one of ten Heads of State from around the world to promote the campaign.

At the launch she was reported as saying: "I will do my utmost so that together - men, women, boys and girls and every member of society - will be equal".

Of note, UN Women supporters Douglas Booth and Gugu Mbatha-Raq will be giving presentations.

There will also be participation from the heads of each university and speakers from corporate champions including McKinsey and Company and Barclays.

Businesses 100 years from gender equality at C-suite level says Sheryl Sandberg

US businesses are more than 100 years away from gender equality in C-suite roles, Sheryl Sandberg the chief operating officer of Facebook Inc. and the founder of LeanIn.Org wrote in a recent article for the Wall Street Journal.

Senior executive roles are referred to as C-suite roles because they typically begin with the letter C.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal she said: “At the current pace of progress, we are more than 100 years away from gender equality in the C-suite. If NASA launched a person into space today, she could soar past Mars, travel all the way to Pluto and return to Earth 10 times before women occupy half of C-suite offices. Yes, we’re that far away.”

Her comments came after LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. release the results of the Women in the Workplace 2015 study which surveyed 30,000 employees across America. According to Sandberg the study found that women are still underrepresented at every corporate level.

Sandberg said that women see “a workplace tilted against them” and are “twice as likely to believe their gender will make it harder to advance.”

She added: “The unfortunate reality is that women at every stage in their careers are less interested than men in becoming a top executive. Contrary to popular belief, this is not solely rooted in family concerns.”

The research found that even women without children cited stress and pressure as their main issue with advancing to an executive role.

She advised companies to track their "progress on diversity—measuring their pipelines in all functions and at all levels, as well as compiling cultural and attitudinal data.”

Sandberg concluded: “Change is never easy. But we can achieve great gains faster than anyone believes. We reached the moon in eight years of concerted effort—not 80. Let’s bring that same urgency to this mission. We will achieve not just a stronger and more successful workplace, but also increased economic growth and benefits for all our workers and families.”

Inspirational Woman I Kakul Srivastava, GitHub’s VP of Product Management

I’m a tech entrepreneur focused on building companies that empower people and create community and currently I live in San Francisco with my family.

In the course of my career, I’ve helped build some of the best loved consumer tech products, such as Adobe's Photoshop line of software, Flickr, Yahoo! Messenger, and Yahoo! Mail. I also founded Tomfoolery, Inc., a startup dedicated to making beautiful social apps for work, which was bought by Yahoo! in 2014. Most recently I worked as Chief Product Officer for WeWork, a $10B company focused on empowering millennial entrepreneurs and creators.Kakul Srivastava

I’m currently 3 months into my role as the vice president of product management at GitHub, where I lead product, design, user research and marketing, to build the best tools for developers to write code.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes! I did it when I was 16 and I had a whole plan – I was going to do an MD PhD and start a biotech company and make lots of money. Easy, right?

What I learnt in time is that, instead of making plans you are happiest when you follow what your passion is. For me, that passion is exploring the intersection between innovative technology and innovative business.

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

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is how to balanced working in the fast paced tech industry with being a working parent. It sounds predictable, but I really wanted to find the right trade-off between my desire to change the world by helping create great technology and helping shape cool new humans (my kids!).

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

I’d advise people to step outside of the professional experience they’ve had to date and reframe their strengths and weaknesses with the context of the role they have been given. You need to realise that you were given this leadership role for a reason and that it doesn’t directly compare to your performance and requirements in previous roles.

There’s also a book that I recommend to everyone - The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. It provides a great framework for people taking on a new role in leadership.

When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how would you decide who should have the role?

I’ve learnt that one of the most important factors for success are the set of values that you operate under. So, whenever I happen to be looking at two equally qualified candidates, I look for a values match, which for us is someone who values resilience, has the ability to learn, behaves with a genuine respect for others and has humility.

How do you manage your own boss?

When you’re part of a larger company it is essential to make sure that everyone is agreed on a shared set of goals. Some of those are easy to figure out, but others, like the big, “how are we going to change the world” type goals, are often harder to get alignment on.

One thing that I’ve appreciated since working with our CEO at GitHub is that we’re very closely aligned on that bigger picture goal, which makes everything else flow much more easily. At GitHub there is a real focus on seeing developers as the centre of innovation and wanting to support their growth.

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

My day revolves around balancing time with my family and focusing on work. I like to start the day before my kids wake up with an hour of quiet, focused work time. Then the kids get up and it’s all go – getting them breakfast and off to school before a day that’s typically packed with meetings. Then I head home and spend a few hours with my family and try to unwind with a bit of reading. I’m mad about science fiction writing.

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

It’s important to take the time to realise why the tasks you’re doing are important and how they connect to the business’ larger goals, and be able to communicate those to other people in the organisation. Knowing the “why” and “how” of your own role enables you to feel confident about your value. It’s also important to be genuinely curious about other parts of the company to create empathy and be a better colleague.

Finally, recognise that sometimes the best way to grow within a company is to grow outside

the company -- whether that’s by blogging, building your own profile or networking outside of the office.

How have you benefited from coaching or mentoring?

Absolutely. I’ve built what I think of as a personal advisory board of some pretty remarkable leaders that I’ve been able to work with over the years, and I make sure that I check in with them about every 3-6 months.

I ask them questions about how they would handle challenges that are coming up in my career, or general business challenges. Sometimes I simply check in.

The important thing about developing that board is making sure that it’s diverse, and that they can support you in lots of different ways. Some people are those I go to for deeply technical advice, others are some of the best people managers I’ve ever worked with, and others are business or financial experts. Being able to turn to these people with relevant issues or concerns is really valuable.

Do you think networking is important and if so, what 3 tips would you give to a newbee networker?
  • Acknowledge how nerve-wracking networking can be. I’m by nature introverted, so networking is really hard for me – put me in a room full of people I don’t know and I will almost always freeze up. Having said that, networking is a crucial skill and I’ve been thankful that I’ve taken the time to work on it over the course of my career.
  • Always try to make your conversations as genuine as possible. I’m a very curious person, so I use networking as a way to feed my curiosity and figure out how things work.
  • Think about how you can build and maintain relationships through networking. Try to follow up and make sure any initial introductions turn into real relationships. I do this by following up with people in the days after a meeting and referencing something very specific from our conversation to open up the possibility of continuing the conversation in a different way or place.
What does the future hold for you?

I’m really excited to figure out how we leverage this amazing network of developers that we have built at GitHub. Our goal is to make GitHub THE destination for writing, collaborating, and shipping code, and I’m working with my team to figure out the best way to make the craft of writing code easy, fun and powerful.

Gender pay gap figures will impact feelings towards employers and career choices, finds report

Publication of the gender pay gap will have an impact on peoples feeling towards their employers and career choices, according to a report from the Business in the Community (BITC).

BITC is the Prince of Wales' Responsible Business Network, which works to tackle issues aimed at building a fairer society and more sustainable future.Woman smashing the glass ceiling-thumbnail

The gender pay gap: what employees really think report surveyed more than 1,000 respondents to find that 89% would feel more negatively towards their employers if the gap was relatively large. However, 71% said they would feel more positively about their employers is the gap was relatively small.

Furthermore, 92% said if faced with choosing between two employers they would use this information to make their final decision. More than half of females said they would choose the company with the smallest gender pay gap or for a company that was actively trying to address the issue.

In July Prime Minister David Cameron announced that firms with more than 250 employees will have to disclose salaries. The measures will be introduced over the next 12 months, with a consultation to agree on how the regulations will be designed and where and when the information will be published.

The Office for National Statistics revealed the pay gap for full time working women stood at 9.4% in April 2014, compared with 10% in 2013. However, overall the UK’s gender pay gap currently stands at 19.1%, meaning for every £1 a man earns, a woman earns 81p.

According to EHRC’s Equal Pay survey - A Good Business Decision – the gender pay gap contributes to a loss of between £15bn and £23bn or 1.3% – 2% of GDP every year in the UK.

A report by McKinsey found that addressing the pay gap worldwide could add £7.8 trillion to annual global GDP over the next decade.

Of those questioned by BITC 87% said they think mandatory gender pay reporting will help close the gender pay gap, by helping employers to understand and explain the causes of their own gaps.

In addition 91% said they would want to talk about the issue at work, with two thirds saying they would ask their employer what they are doing to close the gap.

Two thirds of women questioned said they believe there is a gender pay gap within their organisation.

When asked the reason for this two in three women said they believed the gap exists because women are less demanding in pay reviews and negotiations, despite it being reported that structural and organisational factors are the largest driving causes of the gender pay gap.

Overall, 93% of respondents felt that UK organisations should publish their gender pay gap, with 90% agreeing that it should be broken down for each pay grade or job type.

So far less than 10 UK organisations have published such information, these included the likes of Tesco, Friends Life, PwC, AstraZeneca and Genesis. 7,000 will be expected to publish the figures under the new legislation. Two in five of the survey’s respondents think the regulations should apply to companies of all sizes.

Inspirational Woman I Wendy Jephson, Co-Founder and Chief Behavioural Scientist at Sybenetix

I am a Co-Founder and Chief Behavioural Scientist at Sybenetix. Originally I trained in London as a lawyer, went in-house into business early on and was on the board at Eli Lilly & Company Ltd before leaving to retrain as a business-focussed behavioural scientist. At Sybenetix my role is to help with the design of our Enterprise Behavioural Analytics software that analyses the behaviours of financial decision makers and provides tools to both improve the performance for those decisions makers and enable compliance officers to manage misconduct more effectively.

  1. Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

When I was 12 I loved watching Crown Court - that combined with a love of debating (possibly more accurate to say arguing) with my brother, and the fact I thought they earnt a lot of money, settled me on a career as a lawyer.  The plan from there was obvious; law degree; law school and Articles in a law firm. I started as a trainee solicitor in my London law firm, with becoming a partner a firm expectation. Wendy Jephson

Two years later having been seconded to Xerox during the traineeship (a right place right time moment), I was offered a job in-house in their Central & Eastern European Team. I duly signed up to the Final Salary Pension scheme and thought I'd be making my way up the ladder there for many years. Two years later I moved to Eli Lilly & Company Limited.  I again signed up to the Pension scheme, but thought 'let's see where this takes me’.

Seven years later in a fascinating industry and multi-layered job I found I had a new interest emerging in behavioural science.  Sparked from an idea from my brother - a fund manager - that analysing financial decision making and using behavioural science to enhance it was a real area of opportunity, I went back to university to retrain.   That interest has grown into a passion over more years than I expected it to take, but when I left Lilly I did tell the Board I was leaving to do the job I am doing today, so there was an outline plan in that sense if the details of how I've gotten from A to B have taken a number of twists and turns.

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

Challenges come in many shapes and guises - from within the work itself to the culture of your organisation to outside of work.  My biggest challenges have come from losing family members much too soon. Events like that though shape what's important and how you will deal with them inside and outside of work, so for me there is learning to be had in everything.

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

I remember someone saying to me that when you move into leadership positions with the top teams you get to peak behind the curtain - meaning you see the leadership gods are still just normal people just like the rest of us, usually they just have more of the picture.  It's a core skill to be able to maintain the ability to relate to both leadership team and those you are leading.  You have to find your own way of doing that, but again watch how others do it and notice the impact it has.

  1. When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how would you decide who should have the role?

As a behavioural scientist I can honestly say that no two candidates will be identical even if they have the same qualifications on paper.  They will have differences in how they approach problems, team mates, clients and so on. These can all be tested systematically provided you have analysed the role they will be doing, distilled the knowledge skills and abilities that will be required as well as the cultural fit with the organisation.  Taking a multi-layered approach means you are far more likely to find great people who will fit your role, but for whom the role and organisation will also best fit.

  1. How do you manage your own boss?

As part of the senior management team I don't have one in the formal sense.  The approach that works for me though is to remain open and continue to ask questions to ensure I'm informed and understand the issues.  This helps me know when to challenge and when things are outside my areas of expertise.  I also try to keep as much humour in the relationship as possible

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

 Usually both ends are on the train although the beginning is always with coffee!  It's a great opportunity to think - I use it try to make sense of the latest challenges and to see where dots join and diverge.

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

Be interested and take opportunities to learn more whenever and wherever they arise - especially when it's outside your usual role's parameters.  Speak to people you don't normally speak to; go to talks because they're on - there are always little nuggets in everything you hear and see, and it means you have a broader ability to speak to people across organisations and industries.

  1. How have you benefited from coaching or mentoring?

The first and only coach I've had actually really set me on the path I'm on.  I'd been given a coaching package as part of the senior team program - we dealt with the career planning piece in session one and had five sessions left.  In those sessions he really introduced me to behavioural science and the impact it can have in organisations.   I've not had 'official’ mentors, but again I learn from everyone I get the opportunity to work with both within my organisation and outside it.

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

Networking is incredibly important.  There have been studies showing how connected people are in our world and you never know when opportunities will arise.  Just a few weeks ago I was in Hong Kong with a CEO from an Australian company who gasped as he saw one of his great friends from the UK on the slide about our advisory panels!

Three tips would be:

  1. Go for it! Go up to the speakers at events and ask them questions.
  2. Join in group discussions and listen for the opportunities to connect.
  3. Follow up with people you've met for subsequent discussions to keep the relationships alive.
  4. What does the future hold for you?

The future of Sybenetix is incredibly exciting. We are breaking new ground in behavioural analytics, really bringing the knowledge from academia into the messy real-world workplace.  I am working with an amazing team of very talented people in an industry full of very smart people who are actually really driven to improve standards - so the future looks very exciting indeed.

Inspirational Woman | Nicole Anderson, founder of FinTech Circle Innovate

Nicole Anderson is the founder of FinTech Circle Innovate, which works to establish financial services companies with support through innovation and investment. 
1. Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I have never actually planned my career - but four years ago I knew I wanted to move into FinTech in an entrepreneurial capacity. I knew if I could combine my commercial, innovation and venture experience to the explosive growth and opportunity in FinTech - I knew I could make an impact especially given London is such a great platform.Nicole Anderson

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

In running any business you face challenges everyday but agility and problem solving is part of the deal. Living with uncertainty takes getting used to. The trick is to have structure, surround yourself with great talent and network and be relentless in your execution and self-belief.

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

Having a mentor is a great idea at any stage in a career but even more so when you take on a leadership role for the 1st time. Gaining insight on how to manage time, demands of managing people, structures and targets/KPI's are a complex mix and having an outside view is invaluable.

  1. When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how would you decide who should have the role?

I would go with someone the right attitude. Enthusiasm and a self-starter who is creative and motivated is hard to find. Capability is one thing - but attitude is the X factor.

  1. How do you manage your own boss?

I don't have one - I am the boss. I do have customers and that is who I answer to. I treat my customers with as much personal attention as possible. I believe people work with people they trust and like. And that relationships are the key to business.

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

I begin each morning with a mediation practice. I am also a keen sports person and do some form of exercise every morning - swimming, running, gym or yoga. That sets me up for the day. I have long days as I work multiple time-zones but usually I end my day with time at home with my husband. It’s important to disconnect - although not always that easy. I find listening to music or podcasts / audio books a great way to disconnect.

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

It’s important to work on proof points before aiming to get your profile raised. Get involved in projects that stretch you. Work on external networking. Make sure your social media profile is up to date and reflects who you want to be.

Ask for regular reviews with your manager to get feedback on progress and seek out a mentor in your organisation who you admire.

If you need to brush up in an area - build that into your formal training plan or request support to gain some external education.

Your career development is your responsibility. Say what you feel and don't take things personally when given feedback. Treat input as a way to grow.

  1. How have you benefited from coaching or mentoring?

Hugely - I still have a mentor - who fortunately is also a partner. I gain huge value every day from his knowledge and style. I believe that you never stop learning. I would guard against perpetual coaching. And certainly getting too much input can be overwhelming and confusing. But you will know when you are inspired and are getting results that you are on the right track.

  1. Do you think networking is important and if so, what 3 tips would you give to a newbee networker

150% - it’s the key to business success. Building confidence, key contacts, industry knowledge all come through networking. My tips would be to sign up to groups online that interest you and aim to attend 2-3 a month. Get involved in 1-2 projects that involve a networked group a year.

Make sure you use LinkdedIn and Twitter to feed/support these efforts and build out your circle.

  1. What does the future hold for you?

I am very excited about the opportunity I and my team have. The world of finance is changing radically through the impact of technology. This has radical implications for the way in which societies operate in the future. Our work with large enterprises trying to get to grips with how innovation affects their performance and future allows us to gain deep insight into their challenges and opportunities. We work with creative, dynamic and powerful people every day across the world.

And this is only set to expand. So who knows what the future truly holds but right now – it’s looking bright and very fulfilling.

Male-only boards missed out on £430bn of profit in 2014

Publicly traded firms with male-only executive directors on their boards missed out on just over £430bn ($655bn) of profit in 2014, according to accountancy firm Grant Thornton.

Grant Thornton conducted a report called Women in business: the value of diversity which found companies in the UK, US and India with at least one female executive on the board perform

The UK’s share of this number was £49bn, the US amounted to £373bn and in India it was £9bn.

The report is based on the Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) which is an American stock market index, India’s CNX 200 and the UK’s FTSE 350.

In the report Francesca Lagerberg, global leader for tax services at Grant Thornton, said: “Do companies with diverse boards really perform better than those run purely by men, which currently dominate the corporate landscape? The answer is yes: they perform better. Materially better.”

484 of the S&P 500 companies were found to have a woman on the board. Of the Indian CNX 200, 176 companies have a female board member and the FTSE 350 has 330.

Discussing male-only boards Lagerberg said: “This is progress but for the most part, these women are employed as non-executive directors. Just 127 of the 1,050 companies we looked at in India, the UK and US employ women as executives

She added: “Perhaps businesses have simply not been aware of the value diversity brings. So it makes sense to invest in your high-performing junior women now to make sure they are ready and willing to take the step up into senior management.”

In 2011 Lord Mervyn Davies set a target of 25% of FTSE 100 companies holding board positions by 2015. In March this figure stood at 23.5%. Despite nearly all FTSE 100 firms now having female directors only 8.6% of women hold executive roles a figure which has slowly risen from 5.5% over the last four years.

Recently Davies targeted Hastings and Worldpay for not having women on their boards saying he was surprised that the companies had not taken the issue more seriously. Both companies responded by saying they will be looking for women directors.