The pressure for growth experienced by IT companies is now having an impact on the labour market. The active involvement of women in the IT sector can not only play an important role in alleviating skills shortages; it can also contribute to the development of a more diverse workplace, stimulating teamwork and productivity.
So there is a strong case for women to be active in the IT sector, yet only 10.6% of those working in this sector are women (source: Women in Digital Scoreboard 2020). This situation was analysed by Mária Tóth, director of software development at DXC Technology and Anita Fachs, general director of Green Foy Academy in Hungary at the first Green Fox Club. Together with the moderator of the discussion, Judit Radnai-Tóth, they discussed how to make the sector more attractive for women and what opportunities IT companies can gain by creating a diverse workplace.
At Green Fox Academy, the situation is more encouraging than the market average, as 25% of the students of bootcamp courses are women; and we are very proud of this number. On the other hand, we are aware that we need to keep working to attract women into the IT sector. We have launched several training courses targeted especially at women, for example Academy4MoMs or Hello IT! for Women. The success of these courses clearly confirms that women are interested in IT, and they also have a talent for this field. Furthermore, we also organise events on a regular basis, providing a platform for professional exchanges, discussions in small groups and practical opportunities”
- said Anita Fachs.
Yet, there are still many inaccuracies and stereotypes about this profession. Programming is often described as monotonous, but, in reality, it is about exciting challenges and solutions. “Often it's not just the programming part that's exciting, but the surrounding of the task, as well. Continuous technological improvement, diversity in problem-solving and increased efficiency all provide an opportunity for the development of an individual viewpoint” added Mária Tóth.
Both sides agreed that the world of IT must be made more attractive to women and girls.
“We need to make career paths more visible and clarify the work and responsibilities of different developers. Another crucial point is to create opportunities fitting to women's roles. Every company needs to examine its operations and, in relation to these, the possible ways of employment. Then they have to decide how flexible they could be. Remote working, part-time working and other arrangements all help to create a family-friendly workplace and contribute to workforce retention. So a change in living conditions does not automatically imply a change of job”
- explains Anita Fachs.
Mária Tóth confirmed the importance of dispelling misconceptions surrounding the work of programmers. Programming is an integral part of many jobs in the IT sector. For those who are not familiar with the IT sector, it may seem a very monotonous job that lacks communication and cooperation. This, however, is very far from the truth. At the morning stand-up meeting, which is part of the agile methodology, team members coordinate their activities and at the showcase they present what they have achieved. They communicate with each other regularly, and they work in teams. “I get confirmation every single day that my job is exciting. I am constantly coming across new things, which may come from the client or from colleagues, but the task itself, or even the solution itself, can be interesting.”
A high number of studies confirm the strength of diverse teams. They can analyse a task from several angles, even when it is a simple topic. They tend to talk and argue more, which triggers creative and innovative processes. “When working on a particular task, I often find that women take the initiative to discuss goals and methods, which helps to start teamwork effectively. Good teamwork requires the combination of a thoughtful process with several discussions and an immediate search for a solution. The latter one is more frequently followed by male colleagues. The two methods can be combined very well in a project, which ultimately results in a multi-perspective solution to the problem” shares Mária Tóth her experiences.
This view is also backed up by feedback from Green Fox's corporate partners. “The growth of productivity and the importance of problem-solving are coming to the fore, and women have an important role in these aspects. Moreover, women tend to do a lot to foster community spirit and are effective in customer communication” confirms Anita Fachs.
At Green Fox Club meetings, we explore the world of digitalisation and technology from multiple angles and we invite guests who are experts of these topics. We provide an opportunity to discuss complex issues that are reshaping our world or are crucial for our future.
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