Having moved from project management herself and now on an executive team where 80 per cent are female, Kennedy is a firm believer in working with females in the project area to grow the numbers at executive levels.
“Given that much of the female talent is obviously residing in the project ranks it would be helpful for organisations to provide opportunities for women to rotate through operational roles to give them the more general experience they require in order to move to the next level,” she said.
“I made the move into technology myself years ago through project management and I benefited greatly from being trusted to transition into roles leading support, development, infrastructure and strategy functions.
“The opportunity to gain experience and confidence in a well-supported way is key to fixing the problem.”
GHD’s CIO Elizabeth Harper agreed and said it comes down to changing the way we see the traditional working arrangements.
“One way we are achieving our gender diversity targets, is by championing a shift in the cultural acceptance of flexible working as a legitimate and valuable way of delivering quality outcomes for our clients and business,” Harper said.
“In addition, we have updated parental leave policies, and delivered unconscious bias training and resources for our managers. Sometimes unconscious bias can affect the way a role is framed and advertised, unwittingly making it less attractive to female candidates.
“The IT industry is actually a critical enabler of diversity, because it allows people to work flexibly,” she said. “Ideally we want a workplace where people can work anywhere, anytime and on any device.”
Collectively, from myself as a recruiter, to employers, to industry bodies to even the existing female IT workers, it has to become a core responsibility for all to address the gender imbalance in the sector.
The first step today, is to work with organisations to ensure that they are ‘diversity fit’ and use the available data to help them reach industry best practice with their female participation rates.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.