female leader, women leading the way

The technology industry has historically been dominated by male professionals.

So much so, that when we think of tech we naturally think ‘male’. We think of technology workplaces filled with developers, ‘IT geeks’, and programmers, all as masculine professions. However, like with many industries, ‘tech’ is such a broad title. Businesses do not have to be totally tech focused to be classed as a tech company.

What is key to remember is that as a woman running a tech company, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be techie yourself. The big sea change in the industry is recognising that women bring an amazing amount of wealth and experience to the party, and that their skills can really help to develop a company to grow. Women don’t need to be a trained programmer to make a positive impact in a technology company.

I am Managing Director at a digital affiliate business, but I am not from a tech background. My key skill is ‘people’. I thrive in managing the people in a business to be aligned to the organisation’s vision, which results in a united team working together to help to achieve the company’s business goals. I believe that women in the workplace excel in ‘getting things done’, managing projects, and looking at situations from an ethical perspective. We’re brilliant at observeying business challenges through a detailed eye, to ensure we are always doing the right thing. I work for two male founders, who have realised and accepted that they needed the skills of a woman who could help them take their business further. Although they are excellent businessmen, they lack the skills to manage people in a detailed way on a day to day basis. They know this attention to detail is important to take the company to the next level, which is why they brought me on board.

Tech and digital organisations are waking up to the benefits of a more gender diverse work force. There’s so much buzz in the industry about encouraging women to enter this male-dominated landscape, and systems have been put into place to encourage a gender balance. Events like the yearly international #WomenInSTEM days promote women working in the science, technology, engineering, and maths industry, and gives those businesswoman a platform to share their stories and tips for a successful career.

The Women In Tech website is a hub of knowledge for our industry, but they reflect on some worrying statistics. In the UK, only 17 per cent of professionals within the technology industry are female, as are only 7% of students taking computer science at A-Level. Although those figures may be low, I am confident that through events like #WomenInSTEM, STEM Women Career Events, and Tech Up – the latter which champions the ‘tech revolution’ of women in the industry. This revolution is happening on a global scale, with supermodel Karlie Kloss opening a free ‘code camp’ for girls in the United States, where young women aged 13-18 can spend their summer a ‘Kode With Klossy’.

Small tech businesses are also looking within their structures to help identify those rising stars, so that they can develop the next generation whether they be female or male. Many workplaces are now offering flexible working packages to help attract businesswomen who may have family responsibilities, so they can continue to develop professionally whilst also maintaining a work-life balance.

It’s inspiring that we have a group of young up and coming professional women in the tech industry, paving the way for a more diverse technology landscape. The key to any successful workplace is to have a true balance of staff – both with gender and background taken into consideration.

About the author

Nicola Short is the Managing Director of Redu. Nicola is also a leading business expert.