By Kristina Nilsson, VP Communications at Voi Technology

Diverse woman testing VR headset. Focused African American woman wearing virtual reality glasses.The shortage of women in tech still makes headlines, despite being a decades-old problem. 

The ultra-maleness of tech is changing, though, albeit slowly. At the e-scooter company Voi we are actively trying to hire people from different backgrounds – we’re Swedish after all – and we really want to have more women working in every aspect of the business, not just marketing and comms.

I want women to pursue careers in STEM and technology because frankly it’s where the best opportunities are right now. While our world during this crisis looks unrecognisable, we are all relying heavily on technology to get us through. Many tech companies are busier than ever. We would be lost without online shopping, online GP visits, communication and collaboration tools that allow us to work remotely, TV streaming, social networks, not to mention education tools online and telemedicine.

Women should consider careers in tech, because they have the skills to do it. The technology industry doesn’t only need developers and programmers. It needs graphic designers, HR people, accountants, lawyers, project managers, communicators, linguists and designers as well. Right across the skill range, tech companies are creating high-paid jobs that are rewarding and stretching, allowing you to feel personally and intellectually satisfied.

What’s great about the tech sector is that you can jump straight in and achieve things quickly, without having to serve time. Startups are not at all hierarchical and status doesn’t matter. You get respect from delivering results and every individual employee brings something to the table.

When you join a startup you have to be willing to muck in. They are high-energy environments, like the scrum in a rugby game – you can’t just sit back and observe. Startup years are like dog years: what gets achieved in a year would take seven years in a slower-moving, more mature company.

It’s also one of the most portable professions. You can probably work in most places in the world in this sector, particularly if your English is strong.

I was brought up to be fiercely independent. For many of my generation at the age of 18 you were practically kicked out of home, sent off by your parents to a job or university, with little more than a promise that you’d ring in a month. I’ve learned to be intuitive and to trust my gut. I know that I am  adaptable and able to mix with people from all walks of life – skills that startups need in abundance.

Many young women have these skills in abundance and I love working with them to encourage them to rely on these instincts. What I particularly admire is their willingness to throw themselves into whatever comes up – they are fearless, as I like to think I am.

If you want to run a business or work for yourself, tech is the perfect sector for you to work in. Some of the biggest companies in the world started with three people in a garage and investors will encourage you to think big.

Diversity – both in gender, race and age – isn’t just a box-ticking exercise. It means you can understand your customers better and helps you design a better product. In the e-scooter sector, we want to appeal to women young and old, as well as men, because having the widest possible customer base gives us an advantage over competitors.

When I was job hunting, I was searching for a company that would make a real impact and that’s what I have found in Voi. As we emerge from the coronavirus, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the way we live and travel. At Voi we are absolutely focused on caring for our planet by giving people new options for travelling in Europe’s city centres. That way we can reduce pollution and congestion, while helping people to get around in a fun and easy way. We are a collaborative company that wants to work with other transport operators and authorities to reshape cities, so that they in future we will all enjoy more freedom and less traffic and hassle.

Some people are passionate about a cause: working in tech, when you are trying to solve real, challenging societal problems, is a great way to change the things that matter to you.

If you’re a woman looking for a place where you can rise to the challenge and create something new, then reverse everything you think you know about the technology sector. This is a career without boundaries and it could be just the opportunity you’re looking for.

Kristina nilssonAbout the author

Kristina Nilsson is VP Communications at Voi Technology. Before joining Voi she worked in communications at Takeaway, the Dutch food delivery group that is in takeover talks with Just Eat. She has also worked in senior comms roles at food production group DeLaval, in Stockholm, at TeliaSonera, and at TomTom. She’s fluent in English, French, German, Dutch and Swedish, and holds an MA in Business Communications and Marketing from The Hague University.