Human Resources Manager, NetApp ANZ
With International Women’s Day celebrated this month around the world, it is perhaps as good a time as any to reflect on the state of our industry. To recognise how far we’ve come and to identify what else we can do to continue to advance the position of women in IT.
In the US, women held over 50% of professional occupations in 2014, however this comprised of just 26% of positions in the tech industry. While this is overly positive, here in Australia things are starting to get better. A survey by IT recruiter Robert Half found that 65% of Australian organisations have hired more women into IT roles over the last five years than other technologically advanced countries like Japan and Germany.
While it seems that Down Under, Technology is no longer a male dominated industry, women can still face significant challenges in developing their careers. Ask the majority of women in the workforce, (not just in IT), and they will tell you that chief among their concerns, is how to balance their professional and family lives. At NetApp, we strive to create a flexible work environment that allow parents to work around their families. We offer various incentives including flexible hours, extended leave for both mothers and fathers and remote working opportunities. Family always comes first at NetApp, and we work closely with our female staff to ensure that they feel the support of their employer to both spend time with their families and advance their career.
In IT and other STEM industries, there is always the question about how to encourage more women to peruse careers within the tech sector. While many women will step into an IT role at some point during their careers, a large portion come into IT as their chosen field in education.
It is often forgotten that maths and science aren’t the only paths to a career in IT. Business, marketing, HR and finance are all avenues into this sector as well. By changing the conversation and engaging with young women early on in their education, either high school or university, we can educate them about what a fantastic industry this is, and exactly where the jobs are for them.
There are a number of organisations that already champion the incredible, smart and intelligent women within the IT sector everyday, however it is the individuals out there that are doing their jobs well and working collaboratively with their colleagues, that are making the biggest impact. They are confident, but also respectful of their peers regardless of gender and if companies truly listen to them, then they can be a real force for change.
This is what NetApp is doing, and what we will continue to do as the years go on.