Janette Wiget, CFO and Member of the Management Board of the AI investment platform Merantix talks gives her advice on developing a career in a male dominated industry. 

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I think planning your career is a dangerous precedent to set, and ultimately things never turn out the way you expect. My job now involves work that I could not have known would be possible ten years ago, and I am grateful for that. I return to my earlier point about agility – back at university I scarcely knew of AI and it wasn’t until I became involved with Merantix that I really learnt in depth about the industry, but the flexibility and desire to learn has paid off. I think for many people in the tech sector the same would be true, as the roles and jobs in this space are always evolving to catch up with the rapidly changing tech which we are creating.

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

I would say to keep an open and curious mind. Technology is an ever-changing and evolving space where new advancements are constantly happening and new opportunities are continuously arising. This means your previous work experience or years spent in the industry won’t necessarily pose a barrier as lots of the roles being created are brand new. I would say my best advice to excel in a career in tech would be to stay agile and to try to stay on top of developments in the space. And, of course, hard work!

What barriers for women working in tech have yet to be overcome?

Tech is still a male-dominated space and as more women are breaking through into this industry we must ensure that their voices are heard. We need to empower young women to be confident and bold; they must feel that they can and should use their voice and make themselves heard. Equally, our male peers need to really listen and engage with their female colleagues.

In an ideal world, how would you improve gender diversity in tech?

The world is populated with talented men and women, each of whom have the potential to do amazing things in this impactful industry. The first step in making sure people want to enter the tech space is sparking their interest at a young age and ensuring everyone feels this industry is accessible to them. A key component in achieving this is presenting young women with successful females in this industry who can act as aspirational role models and demonstrate the potential that there is for women in this space.

Young women and girls need role models who inspire them, and who they aspire to become. The more representation there is in C-suite positions, in the media, and online, the more that children will become accustomed to the idea that they don’t have to conform to outdated and antiquated gender norms.
What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

There are basic fundamentals which all applicants need, such as access to mentorship, professional development courses, and authentic feedback.

To progress the careers of women specifically, I think companies need to combat the ‘old boys club’ that tech can sometimes feel like through offering networking opportunities. At Merantix, for example, we host a series of events which aim to provide women in the tech scene with a space to mingle, network and exchange knowledge. To excel in any career, your connections are invaluable and so we feel that it is imperative that we use our resources to host events which support women in building their networks.

Do you feel like being a woman has had any implications on your daily work?

It’s difficult to avoid that gender plays a role in how people perceive you, particularly in tech.

Ultimately, I think being a woman in a male-dominated space has only served to advance my career. When I joined Merantix I was the only female at the company, and this only assured me that I was a perfect fit for the role. I felt I could add a female perspective to the team, enabling me to contribute an additional dimension of value that was lacking, and to ensure that I could have a direct hand in building a workplace that was as inclusive as it is successful.