The future of jobs; innovators in STEM & glass ceilings | WeAreTechWomen's take-aways from the 2019 WISE Conference

Written by Indigo Haze, Digital Marketing and Social Media Assistant at WeAreTheCity

Last week, the WeAreTechWomen team had the pleasure of attending the 2019 WISE Conference at the IET in London.

The conference was a full-packed day of debates, workshops and presentations on the future of working women in the technology industry. The speakers loaded each session with tips, tricks and research findings all delivered with a touch of humour. Here is a breakdown of what we learnt in the morning sessions.

Future Jobs and Women: Answers from the LinkedIn Platform

Lisa FinneganLisa Finnegan, Senior Director of HR, EMEA & LATAM at LinkedIn, presented our first session, where she shared the findings of a recent study on the future of jobs and women. From their own data of 630 million users, 26 million companies, 60 thousand schools and 20 million active jobs, LinkedIn found that while the percentage of women in STEM careers is on the rise, there is still a distinct lack of women working in the computer sciences industry.

This is due to the stereotype that has followed the computer science industry since the early 1990s, of a single lonely soul working away at their computer, frantically typing away at their keyboard, in a damp and dark room, coding by themselves. This stereotype is not one that attracts women to the industry and in reality, it isn't like this anymore. Computer science, programming and coding can be an exciting and creative career path. Lisa commented that this is the image that the industry needs to project, which can be achieved by giving more visibility to female role models already working and succeeding in the industry. This should encourage girls to consider choosing computer sciences as a subject at university and as an inspiring and viable career path.

LinkedIn’s research also shows a lack of women in the AI space, making up 22 per cent of the workforce. A large proportion of these women are working as teachers, rather than in AI. Lisa talked about how for the future of AI we need to make diversity in the workforce the norm, as without it our AI will end up with the developers' unconscious bias. She gave the example of facial recognition software. If we teach the software using only the faces of white men, then the software will be great at telling the difference between this racial group, but the software wouldn’t be able to perform the same task when shown images of women of colour. However, this issue wouldn’t arise if we developed the software using the skills and considering the opinions of a diverse group of developers.

Across all job sectors, LinkedIn’s findings showed that ‘soft skills’ such as HR, marketing and people management are the most sort after by employers and that there are large differences between how men and women approach a job search. Where men are more likely to ask for help in the form of recommendations or mentorship, women are 20 per cent less likely to ask for any help. Women are also 16 per cent less likely to apply for roles than men and hiring managers are 13 per cent less likely to open a female LinkedIn profile over a man’s profile. However, once they’ve set their minds to apply for a role, women are 16 per cent more likely to be successful in landing their chosen position. Moving forward Lisa says we need to move the focus in schools away from general ICT and develop more programmes around computer sciences. We also need to take the focus away from general STEM and put more training and resources into AI and to ensuring women know about the opportunities available to them.

Fiona McDonnellMaking a Difference—How Women can be Innovators in STEM

Fiona McDonnell, from Amazon, presented our second session of the day. She shared Amazon’s research on the barriers and enablers of women’s careers in STEM environments and how women are becoming innovators. Fiona revealed that there is a 23 per cent representation of women in STEM and that only 15 per cent of these are in senior management positions. If we increased this by just ten per cent, the research suggested that this would generate an extra £3bn in business for the UK. Amazon found that nine out of the ten women they spoke with in the STEM industry are facing barriers in their career progression. 84 per cent of women listed confidence as their biggest barrier, along with 75 per cent pointing towards a male majority environment and 72 per cent pointing to a lack of recognition from senior management. Fiona also showed that there are language barriers in how women talk about being innovators and that new roles in the industry are being advertised using bias language that attracts men but puts off women from applying. Amazon has recognised that we need to have a supportive culture in place to ensure that the STEM skills women have are being utilized. The bottom line is that we need more diversity in the STEM industry, and that ‘diversity drives innovation.’

From this research, Amazon launched its Amazon Amplify programme, which aims to increase the recruitment and retention of women in technology. Through this programme, Amazon offers more bias training for their managers and they have changed their interview questions and panel to be as gender neutral as possible. They have also launched an interactive UK wide training programme along with a back to work programme to boost retention in engineering. They have also increased their funding for women innovator programmes, including offering a mentoring scheme and having a STEM workshops for their employees’ children.

Women and Science - Why plastic brains aren’t breaking through glass ceilings

Gina RipponGina Rippon, from the Aston Brain Centre at Aston University in Birmingham, presented our third session of the day.  She spoke about the findings in her book “The Gendered Brain.” Gina explained that scientific research into understanding the brain has held the old-fashioned view that because there are two genders, there must be two types of brains, the male and the female brain. This traditional view holds the belief that men are superior to women, and that women are not suitable to study or work in the STEM industry because they have the wrong skills set, being more empathetic whereas men are better at spatial cognition. They have the wrong temperament, in the sense that women are too often caught up in their emotions to make rational decisions, and that it does not interest women to learn about science. They derived this old-fashioned view from the status quo of society at the time. This opinion is still rampant in the scientific community today. This viewpoint has held women back in the scientific community for generations and is still creating barriers for women who want to chase a career in STEM, despite recent research showing that there is no significant difference between the brains of women and men.

In fact, research shows that the brain is malleable and changing. Social activity is the most important factor when looking at the changing brain, as we all need to find a connection with people that hold the same morals, support and believe in us. Gina expressed how our brains are shaped by the attitude, opinions and expectations of those around us. For women in STEM, this means that a lack of appreciation, direction and inclusion from senior managers and colleagues can inhibit their self-development at work, lower their self-confidence and wear down their motivation. She concluded that men and women need to work together to rule out gender bias in the scientific community and lift each other up to achieve our greatest potential. Which would help us make greater strides in our understanding of gender and open up more opportunities in STEM for women.

Discussion Panel

Following these sessions, we were introduced to Dr Hayaatun Sillem from the Royal Academy of Engineering hosting a discussion panel between Lisa Finnegan from LinkedIn, Fiona McDonnell from Amazon, Gina Rippon from Aston University and Poppy Gustafsson, the CEO of Darktrace. They discussed the gender pay gap and intersectionality in STEM, how women can cause disruption to the system and the future of jobs in STEM.

panel discussion, WISE conference

Poppy started the discussion on gender and intersectionality saying that ‘gender is irrelevant’ regarding hiring for roles in STEM, with 40 per cent of her workforce at Darktrace being made-up of women. Lisa added that LinkedIn recognises that there is a diverse range of women working in the industry that need the support of a community to achieve their potential and to feel valued in their sector. To help this, they have been introducing groups such as LGBT and ethnic minority networks that bring women together across the globe. Gina commented on how important groups like these are, as social inclusion is the most important factor in our self-esteem. She also noted that with the STEM academic industry there are still large barriers to women, as there is not the same level of demand for change in academia as there is in the business world. All members of the panel agreed that women have the power to change the system and that by banding together, we can cause enough disruption to demand change. However, they noted that this can be difficult for women in the workplace, depending on their position in the company and that if done incorrectly disruption to the system could, in fact, reinforce the bias that already exists.

The panel then moved on to discuss the future of jobs in STEM. Poppy started the debate saying it is unnecessary for women who want to work in the tech industry to have a background in STEM, as they often have transferable skills key to the industry. Lisa said that as 80 per cent of the 2030 workforce has already left full-time education, it is important to change the hiring process now. The language used in job descriptions needs changing as there is a gender bias in STEM job adverts, for example, labelling a job as having ‘heavy leadership’, deters women from applying. Lisa further mentioned that interviewing panels need changing, to ensure that there is a diverse range of interviewers in panels and that core skills should be at the forefront of employers’ requirements, rather than just a job title. Gina added that women are less likely to apply for internal promotions due to the male-majority culture. This is something that needs to change in order for us to move forward.

panel discussion, WISE conference

The panel then discussed the gender pay gap. Fiona started the conversation saying, if we want to close the gender pay gap in the STEM industry then we need to inspire more women to go into the sector. ‘Science is no longer just a bunsen burner on the table’, with subjects like computer sciences offering new career opportunities for women. Lisa added that LinkedIn is trying to end gender and social barriers in STEM by showing the future generation the importance of their parents’ work. They are doing this by allowing employees to bring their children into work and interact with technology innovatively, such as building their own LinkedIn profile out of Lego. To finish the discussion, all the women shared the key thing they wanted people to take away from the sessions. Gina wanted us to remember that our brains are flexible and that you can change your mind, Fiona wanted us to remain adaptable, Lisa wanted us to remember the importance of soft skills and their transferability in STEM and finally Poppy wanted us to drive out unconscious bias in the workplace.

Do you want more?

Do you want to know more about what we learnt in the afternoon sessions at the 2019 WISE Conference?

Keep your eyes peeled for our other articles on the event coming soon. You can find out more about WISE and the wonderful work they do here.


Joanna Crew

TechWomen100: What happened next for Joanna Crew

Joanna Crew

In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a TechWomen100 Award.

Now in their third year, the TechWomen100 Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in tech – the emerging tech talent and role models for the future.

We spoke with Joanna Crew, who won a TechWomen100 Award in 2018.

Joanna has not taken a traditional route into Technology – however her keen problem-solving skills, impatience for change and passion for intellectual challenge have proven a great match for the obstacles facing Technology Project and Programme Managers today.

After gaining her Bachelors degree in Russian and Politics from Durham University, Joanna joined the Barclays Operations Graduate Scheme in 2012 and was promoted to VP after 4 and a half years. During this time Joanna has honed her project and programme management skills, including as a Regulatory Relations Business Partner and a HR Chief of Staff, joining the Technology Strategic and Regulatory Change Team in 2016. This breadth of knowledge has proven invaluable in her subsequent roles and allowed expansion of Joanna’s network beyond her immediate remit, tackling challenges with a different perspective and drive for custom-focused solutions.

In the last two years Joanna has delivered a programme of work to transform the way the Change Team operate, continuing this work in a voluntary capacity as a representative of the engagement forum to ensure colleague development opportunities. Since 2017, Joanna has been working to deliver Technology change for the Clearing business, was appointed to manage their Brexit Technology Programme and is currently focusing on streamlining KYC and Client Onboarding.

A passionate advocate for gender equality for many years, Joanna is the Co-Chair for the Develop & Promote Committee of the Barclays gender network and often sits on panels for internal and external events. Particularly within Technology, she mobilised her senior management team’s input into the International Women’s Day 2018 Campaign, and has been a champion for identification and management of female talent. Last year she also designed, coordinated and delivered a digital skills training day for a Barclays Pensioners Committee, giving them the tools to engage their 400 members through the free online training opportunities available.

Joanna has raised over £32,000 for The Prince’s Trust, WildHearts, Mind and other smaller charities through organising black-tie galas, entrepreneurial competitions, running half marathons and cycling from London to Paris. She has also worked with The Girls Network to design and establish Advisory Boards for mentoring schemes in Manchester and Birmingham.

How did you feel when it was announced that you’d won a TechWomen100 award?

It felt fantastic – especially finding out on a Monday morning, it definitely set me up for the week! It was really exciting and humbling to be named in the TechWomen100 – particularly given the standard of the other shortlisted nominees! It can be easy not to pause and reflect on your achievements, especially when you are focused on hard work and delivery, but this whole experience has been a great chance for me to do just that. It’s also a testament to the support and opportunities I’ve been given by colleagues at Barclays since I joined in 2012.

Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the TechWomen100 award?

My manager was really good at championing my win within my business area, and the our diversity networks ran intranet articles on all the Barclays winners as well – I even had someone stop and congratulate me at an internal event as they recognised my name! It’s also been a great conversation starting point for my career development with my manager, and we’re focussing on key push areas for me to take my career to the next level. On top of that, I’ve also now been shortlisted for the WIBF Young Professional Award so winning a TechWomen100 Award has been a fantastic springboard to expand my personal brand.

Paying it forward is really important to me and I’m a big believer in ‘we’ over ‘me’. To that end, I have created a database of awards across aimed at women in Financial Services and Technology as well as a proposal for how my management team can utilise this in their talent process – this has been shared with the D&I sponsors at ExCo level to ensure we push these opportunities across the organisation. So far this year I have personally nominated eight brilliant women (and men!) across 3 different awards, as well as helping several of them with their nomination entries – at current count 3 of them have won, so watch this space for more success stories!

What advice would you give to someone else going through the award’s process?

Don’t be afraid to talk about the great things you have achieved – and don’t underestimate the impact of those achievements, even if you don’t think they’re that impressive. Self-promotion can feel really awkward but the more you practice it, the better you will get. And you absolutely should be telling people that you’ve been nominated, or shortlisted for an award, because you will be amazed at the amount of support you get back and you may also inspire someone else to achieve their goals too, especially for women in under-represented industries like Finance and Technology.

What tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

Find your tribe! Yes it’s a bit of a millennial buzz phrase but in all seriousness, find those in your peer group who challenge you and encourage you to be better and try to do the same for them – in particular, make sure you seek out those who are different to you. Share experiences and champion one another, instead of focusing only on yourself. Not only will you find this really rewarding, but you will find that with several other people doing the same for you that your network expands faster than you could manage on your own, and opportunities that you hadn’t heard about are suddenly within your reach. It also means that you build yourself a strong group of go-to people who know you and who have your back.


employee activism, strikes featured

The rise of employee activism

employee activism, strikes, striking

A mass employee walk out is a last resort that indicates an endemic ‘us and them’ attitude fundamentally at odds with both employee expectations and good management.

Attracting and retaining the good people with great skills essential to business success requires a strategic commitment to people management that is a world away from the hierarchical approach of the past. Zoe Cunningham, CEO, Softwire, explains the importance of nurturing employees, respecting their beliefs and actively seeking their input into tough business decisions.

Last Resort

The speed with which an apparently five star employer can lose employee credibility appears astonishing. How quickly the atmosphere within certain Silicon Valley firms has changed from a top rated employment destination to a workplace so toxic that employees feel compelled to stage a mass walk out. But is this really the case? Employee activism on this scale is a last resort, a desperate recognition that long standing internal efforts to effect change have failed.

For any employer the concept of activism is disconcerting. What does it say about a business that employees are so unhappy they want to make these very public statements?

This very public questioning of employers – from Google to Riot Games – about both ethics and commitment to creating a safe working environment, suggests a systemic lack of employee engagement. It indicates an ‘us and them’ divide between employer and employee that is out of step with both employee expectations and good employment practice.

Employee Value

Just consider the value of these employees: these intelligent, highly sought after experts with the world at their feet. They could work anywhere; join any business; find a company that not only rewards their skills but respects their opinions and beliefs.  And there is no doubt that many will have already done just that – rather than take a public stand they will have moved elsewhere.

With tech talent incredibly thin on the ground – in the UK as elsewhere globally – retaining top talent must be so much more than a line in the corporate strategy. As many companies are discovering, forget the salary and the perks. A lack of commitment to creating the right working environment and nurturing talent leads to employee haemorrhage which is actively hindering performance and growth.

Valuable individuals with hard to source skills are no longer just employees; they are part of the business. And, as such, they need not only to be kept informed about business change – and business challenges – but their opinions and ideas actively sought.  In practice this means including employees in the big decisions. It means sharing business troubles as well as celebrating success. It may go against the grain for managers raised in traditionally hierarchical business models but asking employee opinions on tough decisions - to choose between a ten per cent pay cut or a number of redundancies, for example - doesn’t undermine morale. It actually improves trust. It enhances their commitment to the business.

This open approach needs to be embedded within the entire business. An open door (or open diary for those without offices!) policy or dedicated times when employees are encouraged to speak to senior management, both in informal group environments and one to one, are invaluable. This is not just about providing a safe space for raising concerns and complaints – although that is of course essential.  It is about celebrating success, requesting new office facilities, prompting debate and discussion about dealing with clients, managing remote teams or embracing new market opportunities. Essentially, it is about fostering an open business environment that is a world away from the ‘us and them’ hierarchy of the past.

Employee walk outs make a very significant statement about the quality of experience within specific organisations. But in many companies the activism is subtle – it is the gentle drip of talent leaving, the constant cycle of recruitment and replacement.

People management takes time; but retaining and developing a committed and talented team is crucial to success. Companies cannot just pay lip service in a bid to attract highly valued tech talent. By actively engaging and empowering individuals to speak up and make changes to processes and values, companies can build the committed and engaged talent pool required to underpin long term success.

Zoe Cunningham featuredAbout the author

Zoe Cunningham is Managing Director of Softwire. Zoe has been at Softwire since 2000, in which time she has made it her mission to hold every role in the company – developer, project manager, consultant, sales, operations manager and now MD. Under Zoe’s leadership Softwire has placed in the top 25 of ‘The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For’ list consistently over the last seven years. Zoe is also a film and theatre actor and was the 2010 World Ladies Backgammon Champion. She has been named as one of the 100 most influential people in Tech City, selected by the BBC as the Brightest Woman in Britain and in 2013 she accompanied former Prime Minister, David Cameron, on his trade delegation to China.


Emma Taylor, Michelle de Vries and Roger Casale, Change UK featured

From TechWomen100 to emerging politician | Emma Taylor

Emma Taylor, Michelle de Vries and Roger Casale, Change UK

Dr Emma Taylor’s 30 year career started with BAE Space Systems’ sponsorship for her studies at Oxford.

Over the next seven years, she worked on space missions, including research on materials retrieved from the Hubble Space Telescope. Recruited from her PhD to the European Space Agency, she ran novel computer simulations for the International Space Station.

As a Principal Engineer, she led R&D on resilient spacecraft structures, and an ISO standards team of space agencies to protect Earth orbits. In parallel, Emma was a carer for eight years, leaving her university academic post for a career break. Retraining as a system safety engineer, winning a university scholarship and research prize, she then worked in O&G, including as Operations Manager.

A 2018 Telegraph Top 50 Woman Engineer, and a WISE Woman in Industry Finalist, Emma worked as Lead Systems Safety Engineer at RSSB, advising on safety, risk assessment and standards. She worked to enhance understanding and implementation of security and cybersecurity within transport, including data integrity of a mobile app and a cloud-based safety-related reporting system.

In this article, WeAreTechWomen sit down with Emma to discuss what happened since winning a TechWomen100 award and how she became involved in a career in politics.

I am proud to be one of the TechWomen100. This year in January, I listened to Vanessa Vallely, Jacqueline de Rojas and Chi Onwurah speak at the TechWomen100 awards dinner. To be honest, I felt a little overawed. Inspired too, but I definitely felt as if I was in the presence of superwomen.

And yet only a few months later, after a career of more than 25 years in science, technology and engineering, I have an emerging role as a politician. I am campaigning for election to the European Parliament on behalf of Change UK, our new UK political party. As the lead MEP candidate for the East of England, I’ve definitely had to put my own superwoman cape on.

Emma Taylor, Michelle de Vries and Roger Casale, Change UK

But what’s my story? How did I come to stand as a candidate for Change UK?

I think that, whatever your political beliefs, many of us have been concerned about what’s been happening in politics recently. It’s fair to say things haven’t been working as smoothly and efficiently as many of us would like - politics is clearly broken! It’s worrying people, including my French mother, who has lived here for 50 years.

So when the call came out from Change UK for people to apply and campaign become Members of the European Parliament (MEP), I did listen. I wondered whether I should stand up. I worried about all the online trolling and worse. Could I step up to the challenge? Was I brave enough to try?

But, as an engineer, I like fixing things to make them work better. And as someone who works in tech, I know that engagement with Europe is key in fighting the emerging threat of cybersecurity. I also wanted to find a way to reassure my mum, and this was certainly one way of doing it.

So, I wrote my application in one sitting at the computer, one Sunday afternoon. Less than a week later, I walked into the room and met Sarah Wollaston, one of the Change UK MPs interviewing me. By that point, I’d heard that there were more than 3700 applications so I was taking it one step at a time with no expectations.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget how I felt, sat on the sofa with my cup of tea, when I took that call from Sarah less than 48 hours later. What to do? And so I accepted the number one slot on the East of England list. I realised that this new party, with a call to change politics, offered me a once in a lifetime opportunity to stand up and see what I could to do to help fix politics.

Next day (!), the 23rd April, was the campaign launch, broadcast on national TV. The campaign started at full speed and has been at full throttle ever since. You’ve probably read about it in the national media, you can see my personal campaign story on my Twitter feed (@etaylorengineer).  One thing I am am 100 per cent sure about is that I couldn’t have taken this challenge on without the boost that my We Are The City Techwomen100 award gave me.

I don’t know when you’ll be reading this, if it’s before the election date on the 23rd May, or afterwards. I can’t predict the results, but I know that I’m proud to have taken the opportunity to stand up for what I believe in.  And maybe I’ve inspired others to take their own bold steps? Because if I can create this opportunity and take on this challenge, then you can too.

In a nutshell, if and when you are lucky enough to win a TechWomen100, Rising Star or other WATC award, you’ve got your own little piece of superwoman in your hand. Use it wisely, and the sky’s the limit.


Emma Taylor is part of a team of seven candidates standing for election as a Member of European Parliament; including Neil Carmichael, Bhavna Joshi, Michelle de Vries, Amanda Gummer, Thomas Graham, and Roger Casale.


Institute of Coding logo featured

Join the women in tech revolution

Institute of Coding logo

Did you know only 17 per cent of the tech workforce is women?

It’s time to tackle the shortage of women in tech, especially those from under-represented groups. It’s time to create the female tech leaders of tomorrow.

TechUP, a partnership between Durham, York, Edge Hill and Nottingham universities, is giving 100 women the opportunity to retrain for a tech career with an interview for an internship, apprenticeship or job role at the end of the programme.


Watch the video with Project Leaders, Professor Sue Black and Professor Alexandra Cristea below:


The six-month programme is open to women with a degree in any subject across the North and Midlands.

TechUp is mainly completed online, allowing you to fit it around your current commitments. Modules include data science, coding, cyber security project management, public speaking, clear communication and working as a team.

A mentor who works in the sector will provide advice and guidance to you throughout the course. There are also four residential weekends where you can network with peers and listen to industry-led talks.

Ready to join the revolution? Visit the TechUP website to apply.


deloitte-featured

Deloitte seeks untapped tech talent with new programme for returners

 

Deloitte are searching for untapped tech talent to take part in its new digital skills retraining programme for people returning to work after a career break.

Building on the success of its award-winning return to work programme, and in response to a growing demand for coding skills, Deloitte is launching a pilot return to work retraining programme, where returners will learn valuable coding and software development skills. As with the firm’s return to work programme, while the retraining programme is designed with women in mind but open to all.

The retraining programme comprises a 12 month Software Developer Apprenticeship, beginning with a three month upfront training course with Makers Academy in London, with successful participants joining Deloitte in permanent roles and qualifying for a Software Developer Level Four Apprenticeship.

The programme is designed specifically for returners without any previous software experience, who are looking to learn new technology skills - including key coding and software developer topics such as databases, coding languages, deployment processes and tools - following a career break of two or more years. The course offers participants the opportunity to retrain, whilst receiving a salary.

Emma Codd, managing partner for talent at Deloitte, said, “This retraining programme is a new and exciting way of bringing talented individuals back to work and filling the growing skills shortage in software development."

"We want to provide the opportunity for people who have had time away from work, whether for family or any other reasons, to learn new, in-demand skills."

“Across the technology industry, women are vastly underrepresented, meaning businesses, and the economy as a whole, are missing out on a hugely valuable pool of potential talent."

"I believe this programme, which is primarily aimed at women but open to all, will create new opportunities and support our commitment to improving the diversity of our workforce."

"We’re looking for people from a range of backgrounds and with different experiences.”

Evgeny Shadchnev, CEO at Makers Academy, added, “From our experiences of training top tech talent, we know that it is never too late to learn to code and consider a career switch."

"Diversity cannot be an afterthought in the digital economy, especially for companies who wish to remain globally competitive."

"We need more diverse talent training as software developers and we are excited to be partnering with Deloitte to make this happen.”


UK remains 'hotbed' for tech talent

The UK remains a 'hotbed' for tech talent, employing five per cent of all high-growth tech workers globally, according to a new report.

The research, conducted by Tech Nation, found that the UK is in front of Japan, France and Indonesia when it comes to employing high-growth tech workers.

In the UK, Insurtech and Fintech were the biggest employers among high-growth digital tech firms in 2018, employing 24 per cent and 18 per cent of the high-growth workforce respectively.

Cyber, AI, and Cleantech all feature in the top ten sectors for employment in high-growth tech firms. Investment data shows that AI, Cyber and Big Data are growing in importance for UK tech scaleups. This means that the UK may be about to see more jobs generated in these sectors.

Eileen Burbidge, Partner, Passion Capital & Chair of Tech Nation said, “The UK has an incredibly pivotal role in the global tech scene."

"Nowhere is this more evident than in the Fintech sector where the UK is ranked number one in the world; an enviable position that has been established with decades of hard work, entrepreneurial talent, innovation and supportive policymakers."

"I’m confident that we have all the ingredients needed for continued success and even greater acceleration of the tech sector here in the UK.”

UK Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, added, ‘‘The UK is a global tech powerhouse."

"I am immensely proud of our country’s ambitious tech scaleups."

"These companies are delivering significant economic value to the nation through the investment they raise, the jobs they create and the innovative products and services they deliver’’.


Diversity

Promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM

Diversity

Article provided by Greenlight Digital

In the fight to diversify the workplace, STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – have increasingly come under scrutiny.

In the US, engineering and the computer sciences make up 80 per cent of the STEM landscape. Yet women occupy a fraction of the jobs: 12 per cent and 26 per cent respectively. In the UK, the story is similar. The STEM workforce is estimated to be less than a quarter female.

Strangely, one solution might lie with a pursuit that, for a long time, was on the fringes of polite society: video gaming.

Video games and STEM are inexorably linked, according to study

An October 2018 report published in Big Think paints an interesting correlation between women who play games and women who go into STEM fields.

“The more girls play video games, the greater the chance they’ll pursue a STEM degree, regardless of what kind of game they play,” the report found, based on evidence collected in a longitudinal study surveying teenagers at seven different points in their life, from the ages of 13 to 20.

The study found that girls that played games were three times more likely to pursue a STEM degree at university than girls who didn’t play games.

No such correlation emerged with the teenage boys analysed.

Is it time we encouraged our daughters to get more actively involved in this booming, billion-dollar industry?

Well, as we discuss below, many girls are playing. The problem, in a twist of fate, is that the gaming industry has a diversity problem of its own.

The gaming industry’s diversity problem

The idea that playing video games is primarily the domain of boys is outdated. Women are increasingly playing too. In the United States, 41 per cent of players are female. In Canada, that rises to 49 per cent. In France, 53 per cent.

Yet representation in the gaming industry suffers in three key areas:

  1. Problem #1: the games themselves. As this list of the best-selling games of all time illustrates, the landscape is still dominated by machismo. The likes of Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty – even Pokemon – all ask that you play as a male character. In fact, not a single game on the list mandates that you play as a female character.
  2. Problem #2: the number of women working in the games industry is low.biz estimates that about 21% of the industry is female; however, dig deeper, and only 5% of coders are women. The nuts and bolts of these games are almost always assembled by men.
  3. Problem #3: expectation. Publishing houses invest millions in bringing games to market and are fixated on the idea that gaming is a male pursuit, or at the very least, that men are the more dependable market. But then, consider this: the heads of the ten biggest publishing houses are all male. Does bias come into play here?

Yet, change is coming to the gaming industry – slowly

But if gaming is symptomatic of a larger diversity epidemic, there’s also cause for quiet optimism, because the video game landscape is slowly changing.

Take The Last of Us 2. The sequel to one of the best-selling games of all time is set to star a young lesbian woman named Ellie when the game is released sometime in 2019 or 2020. Another franchise, Gears of War, has typically bristled with machismo. Its next entry, Gears 5, will feature a female protagonist for the first time.

What has precipitated this change? A few years ago, Sony went to one of their most reliable studios, Guerrilla Games, with a proposition. After years of good service, Guerrilla, who had been churning out games in the Call of Duty mould, would be given the chance to make anything they liked. Faced with a blank slate, the Amsterdam studio devised a story starring a young warrior named Aloy; an empowered female character tasked with saving her tribe. Horizon Zero Dawn was released in 2017 to glowing reviews and, crucially, sold well too. To date, more than 10 million copies have been sold.

Thanks to the commercial success of Horizon, publishers are starting to revaluate their blinkered approach to creativity.

Will STEM follow suit?

The STEM fields need to similarly break free of the rut they’re in. One way to do this would be to embark on a promotional drive that highlights the inventions female scientists have brought the world. At school-level, aptitude for sciences is shown to be even across the sexes. In fact, many girls outperform boys. What girls often lack, studies show, is the same conviction in their abilities.

Thus, girls need role models to look up to, especially when conventional thinking suggests that scientific enquiry is somehow the domain of men.

A drive to dispel this myth would go a long way to levelling the landscape. In the end, that’s an ideal we should strive for, because no industry should ever be dominated by a single gender. Uniformity only gives rise to echo chambers of thinking and a dearth of ideas.

Simply put, tackling inequality in STEM starts with telling a better story.


Sources:

https://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/10/01/2019/women-stem-critical-innovation

https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/girl-gamers-pursue-stem-degrees

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2018-09-20-companies-really-need-to-ask-themselves-if-theyre-serious-about-diversity


Emily-Hyett

TechWomen100: What happened next for Emily Hyett

Emily Hyett

In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a TechWomen100 Award.

Now in their third year, the TechWomen100 Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in tech – the emerging tech talent and role models for the future.

We spoke with Emily Hyett, who won a TechWomen100 Award in 2018.

I studied Physics and Astrophysics at University where I learnt to code and used Linux software for my project on extra-ordinary hydrogen emission of a galaxy, thought to contain a supermassive black hole. I found it facinating that I could infer the presence of a super massive black hole 600 milion light years away just by applying physics and technology to some measurements taken on Earth.

I started as a Graduate Technology Consultant at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence in 2014 and within a week of joining was visiting high security prisons on behalf of the Ministry of Justice to assess the security of their IT estates. I was quickly promoted to Senior Consultant during which time I authored a business case to secure £320k CapEx technology investment for a client, led a Government Data Analytics project worth £280k and worked with a Financial Services CTO to define their new Technology Strategy, estimated to cost £1.3 billion to implement.

After being promoted to Principal Consultant I decided to take a sabbatical to put my technical consulting skills to use in a developing country. I flew out to Nairobi to work as Product Manager in a technology social enterprise start up. Whilst in Kenya I led the development of a live prototype for a new platform which connects informal sector workers to job opportunities. The mobile app is now used by Site Managers across Nairobi to employ some of Kenyan’s poorest people.

Upon my return I started a new role as Account Manager, now solely responsible for the authoring, agreeing and securing a contract worth £2.6 million.

How did you feel when it was announced that you’d won a TechWomen100 award?

It was brilliant to be recognised externally for the work I’m doing, especially amongst so many exceptional women.

Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the TechWomen100 award?

Claire Russell and I were both featured on BAE Systems Applied Intelligence website and also our intranet. I was nominated and shortlisted for the Women in IT awards this year too so I’ll definitely be nominating other inspirational women that I work with for next year’s awards.

What advice would you give to someone else going through the award’s process?

Don’t play down your achievements!

What tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

If you stop learning then move on to something new. Worry less about what your ‘five year plan’ looks like and take opportunities that scare you.


WeAreTechWomen & Jobbio featured

WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen launch new job board platform in partnership with Jobbio

WeAreTechWomen & Jobbio

WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen have partnered with Jobbio, to create a digital careers marketplace targeting their four million monthly visitors.

Dating back to 2014, the WeAreTheCity Jobs Board promotes career opportunities to their large and growing female demographic of 120,000 members. As more businesses focus on talent diversity and inclusion to drive innovation and create competitive advantage, this partnership will serve to further support businesses and boost their female pipeline in the technology, financial services, professional services and legal sectors.

vanessa-high-res-watc_1715-tech-site

Vanessa Vallely OBE, Managing Director of WeAreTheCity said “I am extremely excited to begin our partnership with Jobbio."

"The new jobs board platform will enable us to connect our WeAreTechWomen members to companies who are serious about building their pipeline of female tech talent."

"Partnering with Jobbio on the new platform has improved the overall functionality and look of our previous platform."

"We now have the ability to feature more content and create dedicated pages for clients in order to promote their roles and tell their stories!"

"I am looking forward to WeAreTheCityJobs being the conduit between women in tech seeking a career change and firms who will not just recruit them, but who will actively support their career progression."

The job board platform launches today with a focus on jobs in the technology sector. This is to coincide with the launch of WeAreTheCity’s latest resource platform for women working in technology, WeAreTechWomen.com. Additional jobs across a multitude of sectors will be added over the coming weeks.

Screen grab for new job board

WeAreTheCity jobs launched with partners such as IBM, Oliver Wyman, Deloitte, C&C Search and DataArt. Clients joining the new job board platform over the coming weeks include Barclays, PwC, Net-A-Porter, Worldpay, Refinitiv, SAP and BNY Mellon, amongst others.

Stephen Quinn, CEO, Jobbio said “This partnership comes at a time when both companies have already established strong company branding platforms."

"At Jobbio we are passionate about the progression of women in the workplace."

"We have worked with WeAreTheCity for a number of years on initiatives such as the Rising Star Awards and our careers fair, Higher."

"Building the new jobs board platform together is a fantastic evolution of our partnership."

"The new platform will bring greater opportunities, such as the ability to distribute relevant client content, such as recruitment videos, staff interviews and articles, all of which have been proven to boost company job applications and enable candidates get a better understanding of company culture."

"Now, using WeAreTheCity’s multiple distribution channels (which include newsletters, job alerts and social media) companies will be able to promote open roles alongside their content, which attracts both job seekers and the passive market."

New partners Jobbio, are headquartered in Dublin, but also have an office in London. A careers marketplace and inbound hiring platform, Jobbio connects the best talent with the most innovative companies. The brand reaches a talent base of over 100 million people and is trusted by 6,000 companies globally. Jobbio will enable companies working with WeAreTheCity to gather applications, and then build a talent pool for immediate or future use.

The job board forms part of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen, which is predominantly visited by women, however we do encourage job applications from all genders.

To find your next open role, visit here.

To promote your open roles on WeAreTheCity Jobs or to take advantage of our free three month job promotion trial, please contact [email protected]