this is engineering, woman in tech

Article by Luba Ismakov, Mid-market Sales Director, EMEA, Samsara

Technology is shaping the society we live in, yet women are hugely underrepresented in the tech workforce which is undoubtedly problematic.

When you consider how few women there are working in the sector today, it becomes alarmingly clear that more needs to be done to encourage women to strive for a career in tech and create a more equitable and diverse industry. In fact, recent stats show that only 19% of the current tech workforce are women, with just 5% of tech start-ups being female owned.

Unfortunately, a similar trend emerges when you look at B2B sales across most industries – women are massively underrepresented, with 46% having experienced gender discrimination in the European technology sector.

These findings suggest that the tech sales industry is ultimately still a man’s world. While this poses a tremendous challenge for women interested in or already pursuing a career in this field, that’s not to say women should back down from the fight.

Instead, women need to support and empower one another and share their learnings of what it takes to be a successful woman in tech sales – which is exactly what we aimed to do recently at Samsara, with our Women in Tech Sales event, hosted in partnership with the Women in Tech Forum.

The event was a great opportunity to connect with peers in this sector, share experiences and build support networks for the future. While there were many great insights that arose from speakers and attendees alike, here are my top three takeaways from the event.

  1. Reframing the narrative

You may be familiar with the term “imposter syndrome”, which put simply, is the belief that your success is undeserved – and this is something that no doubt many women in tech sales have experienced because of their gender. Perhaps sparked by the lack of female role models to look up to and often being the only woman in the room, many in this space often feel the pressure to step up. On top of the pre-existing demands of working in sales – namely, facing frequent rejection – being a minority adds an additional challenge, which requires women in this space to be far more resilient.

However, research can play an important role in reframing the narrative and helping to shift the mindset amongst female employees, minimising those voices of self-doubt. Research from a recent report indicates that women in sales often outperform men, achieving higher win and quota goals than their male counterparts.

This shows that times are changing. And while of course there is a lot of work to be done, the tech sales landscape is moving in the right direction in terms of becoming a more equitable and inclusive working environment.

  1. Mentorship and community are powerful tools

As women are underrepresented in tech sales, there is often a scarcity mindset that takes hold – but there are enough seats at the table for all of us. What’s more, given the current macroeconomic environment, it’s vital that women can support one another. Naturally there will come a time where you second guess yourself, which is why it’s so valuable to have a great support system, whether that be to have someone simply listen to how you’re feeling, or to validate your strengths and talent.

Women should be invested in and celebrate each other’s successes, and so, a big part of our recent event at Samsara was to establish a community of women ready to advocate for one another.

Building our own support network is in our hands and should be a priority for all, across all industries. Is there a woman whose career you admire? Speak to them and reach out. You’ll find there are so many women out there who are willing to help and on the other hand, you may find that being a mentor to someone else can equally be truly rewarding.

  1. It starts with recruitment

We’re probably all familiar with the data that shows how men tend to apply for roles where they do not meet every qualification criteria, whereas women tend to only apply if they meet 100% of the requirements. This raises the question, how can tech companies and the women within them, encourage female talent to take the leap?

While women can try to unlearn previous experiences and believe that they as women belong in the world of tech, this can take a lot of work. Therefore, we need to see more organisations taking the responsibility of that work, which involves asking themselves what they are doing to ensure they attract and retain female staff. For example, one of Samsara’s current initiatives is tracking female seniority paths to gain clarity on both career progression and potential hindrances.

But ultimately, it’s up to all of us. Proactively tackling these challenges on behalf of future and current female employees means doing our best to hold ourselves accountable when it comes to the shared goal of creating a more diverse and inclusive industry.

Luba IsmakovAbout the author

Luba Ismakov is Sales Director, EMEA, at Samsara. Since joining the company nearly five years ago, Luba has developed a wealth of knowledge and expertise in tech sales – a sector where women remain significantly outnumbered. She is responsible for sales to a diverse range of fleets and other firms across the region, helping them to increase the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of the operations that power our global economy.