woman in engineeringArticle by Hannah Jarrad, Head of People and Culture at Wise

With 12 years working within people-focused roles across the hospitality, engineering and tech sectors, Hannah is Head of People and Culture at Wise, helping lead their talent scale-up journey.

Since I joined Wise a year and a half ago, the team has almost doubled in size and we’re continuing to grow steadily, adding to our pool of talented individuals. Diversity and inclusion, as well as encouraging as many women as possible to get into tech, is one of our priorities and something I’m personally very passionate about. Throughout our three-year history, Wise has continually sought to bring women into the technology industry, with 28% of our tech workforce being female – ahead of the UK average figure of just 19%.

There are so many misconceptions around the tech industry that it can be quite overwhelming trying to navigate them all, but the main concern is often the association that tech is not a female-orientated field. Working as Head of People and Culture, I have the joy of working closely with all of our employees and can safely say there are no fundamental differences in our DNA that make women any less suited to working in tech than men at all. Ultimately, I believe it all comes down to fostering an environment which welcomes women with open arms and creating real visibility of female role models within the industry, showing that it is a viable career path.

encouraging women and other underrepresented groups into tech isn’t just about morals, it’s about broadening perspectives and recognising how much we can learn from each other.

In my experience, commitment from the top of any business is essential in creating an inclusive workplace. As individuals, we’re all responsible, but finding a company with the right attitude and the right leaders, who share the same values as you and prioritise diversity and inclusion, makes all the difference.

There are so many meaningful ways companies can help improve the number of women in tech and make a real difference – beyond the once-a-year, awareness day nod. For instance, sponsoring industry events, such as hosting a ‘Women in Tech’ panel at Birmingham Tech Week, as we did at Wise, is a great way to show commitment from the company, as well as to help women feel welcome and acknowledged by the industry. This sharing of information and visibility of women in tech also gives businesses a chance to share best practice and inspire other businesses to strengthen their diversity and inclusion policies.

Furthermore, having workplace policies in place that are tailored to women is an absolute must – you can’t just say you’re inclusive, you have to show it. As someone who is about to go on maternity leave myself, I’ve experienced first-hand the difference it makes when a company is understanding and flexible, offering support when needed.

Honesty is key here too. Many companies try and cover up their stats when it comes to D&I, but just being open about where you are, acknowledging that you have work to do and actually doing it is much more impactful. Organising workplace surveys is a great way to understand where your company is at whilst gaining valuable insights into areas which may need improving – thus putting businesses on the right track to succeed.

Companies who aren’t afraid to act and who actively work to create an inclusive environment are, ultimately, the ones who will be the most successful.

Finally, my advice to women wanting to get into tech would be – don’t let the stereotypes of the tech industry put you off joining. Tech is one of the best industries to be a part of right now, so it’s all about taking that first step and playing a key part in helping pave the way for future women in tech too.

If you take one thing from this, it’s important to remember the value in different people’s background and experiences – encouraging women and other underrepresented groups into tech isn’t just about morals, it’s about broadening perspectives and recognising how much we can learn from each other.