Jane BrandJane Brand is co-founder of OnSkil, a digital platform redefining the way IT candidates are hired, by promoting diversity and removing bias and prejudice from the selection process.

They believe everyone should have the opportunity to shine and achieve their true potential. She has a daughter and son that still keep her very busy, but in my spare time I enjoy playing netball, loves watching football and walking her 3 gorgeous Labrador dogs.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I am the Co-founder of a family run recruitment business TWRG Holdings Ltd, we specialise in IT and Digital Design, search and selection.  Being a family business, my role is hands-on, every day carries its own challenges, fortunately I’m super organised and process driven which definitely helps!

Working within a Technology driven market has allowed me to explore my passion for technology further.  I have a desire to make a positive change and appreciate that technology used in the right way can make an impact to improve and leave a legacy that will add value people’s lives.

I am fortunate that TWRG has enabled me to gain industry experience and explore the pitfalls of current processes that have surrounded the industry for decades and proud that we are implementing change by introducing OnSkil to the market, that positively promotes responsible hiring, and actively addresses the issues of EDI via the removal of conscious and unconscious bias.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Growing up in the 80’s there really wasn’t any clear direction or support available to us leaving school.  University was always seen as something for the brightest of students wanting to become Doctors.  I was always a bit of a doer and since I already had a Saturday job in a Travel Agency, I opted to embark on a career in Travel via a youth training scheme (YTS) –as I always wanted to travel the world and believed this would provide the platform.

It wasn’t until my second job working for a large American organisation, that I really opened my eyes to career choices.  I was fortunate to work in a number of different roles during my employment within HR, Purchasing and Marketing functions that really did give me the grounding for a technology based career.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

The most challenging time in my life was not having a career to focus on.  Being a mum is massively rewarding, I am extremely fortunate to be blessed with two children (adults now), that I can honestly say have challenged me in more ways than any job ever has.  It’s hard work balancing kids and life in general.  I take my hat off to all the full times mums and dads out there!

However, for me, not working through this period, really effected my confidence and self-worth.   It was surprising how much I missed being part of a team and being able to have some independence and ability to contribute financially to family life.

Finding a job around childcare issues was difficult but I am so glad I did return to work!

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Creating OnSkil to help promote ‘Responsible’ Hiring – something that has been long overdue.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Developing a higher level of Self Confidence.  For years I assumed just because I did not go to university and also prioritised being a mum to two children over a career, I was only able to progress to a certain level in my work.  It was only after a few years of juggling multiple home as well as work issues and effectively working twice as hard as my colleagues, did I finally realise I was not only keeping up with others, but actually out performing them.  This gave me much needed confidence and I realised I was capable of achieving anything I put my mind to.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

To always remember that Technology should be designed to help people.  Therefore, if you keep this key principle at the heart of every decision you make, great things can happen.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

Unfortunately, I do believe there are still barriers that exist, particularly when it comes to raising a family.  However, on the plus side, I think these barriers are not sufficient enough to prevent a truly motivated and enthused woman to succeed.  I think we can do both family/career and actually this gives us strength.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Remote working, flexi working and most importantly outcome-based working.  Fact is, when things need to be done, very often women can go into ‘overdrive’ and either multi task like super heroes or simply pick up the pace.

There is currently only 15% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Promote more tech related A-Level courses and follow this up with discounted University fees for woman taking IT related degrees.  This could also extend into discounted professional courses so employers are incentivised to develop their female employees on to these courses.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

The biggest resource I would recommend for any woman in tech is to sign up to the OnSkil.com platform.  We want all IT professionals being viewed on a level playing field – OnSkil helps achieve this and by working with companies to help instil a responsible hiring culture, we hope to create a fairer hiring process which can only help woman achieve their chosen goals