Thursday, November 17, 2016

UQ graduate shows the tables are turning for women in digital and IT

Women in the information technology industry have become a hot commodity, sometimes even used as trophies to enhance a company’s ability to attract and retain the very best (female) talent.

IT and digital companies are recruiting women for a variety of reasons: to boost their employer brand, because they are a listed company and are under pressure to report on their workforce diversity statistics, or because these employers genuinely want to enhance gender diversity for the right reasons. The right reasons being that they acknowledge the benefits of diversity on problem solving, innovation and, more broadly, thought leadership.

UQ graduate shows the tables are turning for women in digital and IT
Women in Digital and Digital Talent Co. CEO Holly Tattersall (Photo: UQ)

The most successful women in digital and IT choose to work with companies where gender diversity and inclusion is demonstrated at every level of the organisation, and with companies who offer roles that can keep up with the ambitions and abilities of women in their industry.

Women are now so highly sought after in these professions that they have the luxury to pick and choose which employer they work with, according to the perks and benefits on offer, and also based on their deeper compatibility with a company’s professional ethos.

While a company may promote their gender-diverse policies, flexible working arrangements and inclusive culture, when the rubber hits the road many women are lured to workplaces that don’t practice what they preach. They might, for example, subtly (or not-so-subtly) discourage females from leaving work early to get the kids, despite the fact they will burn the midnight oil from home later.

This incompatibility of values means an increasing number of these outstanding women are becoming entrepreneurs, jumping off the corporate ladder and instead starting their own companies or small businesses.

For the women who don’t go down the path of starting their own business, this disconnection of companies who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk creates a genuine challenge as they are then left having to decipher sometimes misleading employer branding messages.

How do they figure out the real story? They ask peers, their networks or do research online. The truth will always out.

But what if you don’t have a strong network, are new to Australia and aren’t across the market nuances? What if you’ve been sold a lemon of a company? For men and women in digital and IT, one of the greatest challenges is that top talent is lured into roles and sold the opportunity to digitally innovate, only to be disappointed by an executive board that doesn’t understand nor respect digital as a platform for customer engagement.

For this reason, top talent looks to advisory organisations like mine who are trusted to put forward only the best employers who prioritise diversity and inclusion, and who take digital innovation seriously.

So as Beyoncé asks, “Who run the {digital} world in 2016”?

Girls.

Holly Tattersall (Bachelor of Business Management ’10) is the ambitious founder and CEO of Women in Digital and Digital Talent Co., which provide mentoring, training and career opportunities to their members. Holly is passionate about empowering women globally through digital technology.

UQ School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering

The UQ School of Information Technology is a multi-disciplined school that teaches across numerous fields of study in the information and communications technology (ICT) and engineering areas, preparing graduates for a successful career in a myriad of jobs and industries.

ICT graduates are in demand with employers increasingly wanting ICT trained people possessing a combination of business problem solving and interpersonal skills. ICT skills are readily transferable across employers and industries, allowing graduates flexible employment opportunities.

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