Hiring from other sectors could improve gender equality in tech
With Google hiring former Wall Street executive Ruth Porat as its new CFO, the issue of gender equality in tech has come to the fore again.
Ms Porat will be the highest ranking woman at Google, helping to solve the issue of a male-dominated workforce.
Tech giants taking steps towards gender equality
Apple may soon be following suit and hiring more female staff, as it has recently joined up with the National Center for Women and Information Technology and donating almost $10m to help create more job opportunities for women.
Whilst these are extremely positive steps, there may be a simpler way to employ more women in a tech enterprise: reach out to other sectors that have more female employees, and recruit them to fill the same position - or a better one.
Céline Lazorthes, Founder and CEO of Mangopay, said: “Like many industries, the tech sector is predominantly male due to what’s been the case before and what people are used to.
“Although we cannot change the gender balance overnight, we can take positive steps towards ensuring that women feel they are able to step into a traditionally male-dominated working environment.
“One thing I’d like to see more of is female role models.”
One of the sectors that tech companies could look at is accountancy and finance, which been making progress in gender equality for some time.
Trend of women from finance moving to tech
ACCA, one of the top accountancy bodies in the world, recently revealed that their members are now 45% female. In addition, firms like Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers are now offering incentives like flexible scheduling, reduced hours, and assistance after family leave that will appeal to women who plan to raise a family as well as pursue a career in finance.
Ms Porat is not the first woman from Wall Street to have joined a tech company from a high-flying career in finance. Microsoft’s first female CFO worked at Goldman Sachs, as did Square Inc.’s CFO and Operations Lead Sarah Frier, while Oracle’s co-CEO Safra Catz was formerly a banker for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.
This trend could exist because finance is an area that every company needs help with – particularly start-ups, which often need careful financial guidance during the first few years. As a result, it is the ideal place to start when considering hiring experts from other sectors.
Ms Lazorthes said: “I think this is a great idea and something Google has done really well with.
“Women, much like men, are adaptable by nature and, as finance skills are always useful, I see no reason why those with experience in the finance sector couldn’t flourish in a technology-based role.”
Many women in tech self-employed
Recent statistics show that 16% of people working in Britain’s IT sector are women (less than one in six) and female representation is lower in the UK than the EU 15 average.
It has also been shown that the proportion of women working as self-employed IT specialists has more than doubled over the past decade – which could indicate that women in the field find it easier to get work by themselves rather than within a company.
Consequently, it could be the case that if British tech companies began following the example of Silicon Valley, it could produce some positive effects for gender equality in the sector.