The road ahead for women in tech
Updated: Mar 17
2022, what an interesting time to be a woman in tech. Like many industries, tech is facing a skills shortage, with a surplus of jobs available. However female representation remains to be low, with women making up only 27% of the digital workforce here in New Zealand (NZ Digital Skills Forum).
A 2021 report from UK based Kaspersky, highlights that while some positive change can be seen for women in tech, progression is slow. Just over half of the participants agreed the number of women in senior IT or technology roles in their organisation has increased over the past two years. However on the flip side 48% work within a male-majority team and 44% still believe that men progress faster than them in their organisation.
While we are only beginning the journey to overcome gender bias, industry leaders such as Kimberly Bryant (founder and CEO of Black Girls Code), Whitney Wolfe Herd (CEO of Bumble), Melanie Perkins (CEO and co-founder of Canva) and Rebecca Chenery (CIO of Watercare and named CIO of the year NZ) pave a brighter future for women in the industry.
This year, in celebration of International Women's Day we chatted to two of our very own “Women in Tech” here at Be Intelligent, on their views about the challenges women face in the tech sector and what we can do to overcome them.
Amanda Nicholls, Chief Commercial Officer
Amanda is a newbie to the tech industry, previously having led high performance sales teams for both internationally-based and New Zealand businesses. However her love for numbers and data driven solutions has led her to jump into the Salesforce and Marketing Cloud world focusing on building long lasting partnerships with businesses who are interested in staying ahead.
Q: Why is it important for women to gain visibility in the tech industry?
A: I think it’s hugely important for women to gain visibility in the tech industry for a number of reasons. Two that I would say are the most important are firstly, we want to ensure that the industry as a whole is kept fresh. Diversity whether that be in experience, gender or opinions can generate the best ideas, solutions and new innovations.
Secondly, to continue to break the mould and to encourage the new generation of women who are interested in this industry to dive in and give it a go.
Q: You’re not originally from a technology background, what made you decide to make the move?
A: I like to make informed decisions and I have been lucky enough to have worked in companies that have invested heavily in technology and I have seen how business’ can reap the benefits of that investment.
I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this industry so that I can help other businesses scale and grow, by having the ability to make informed decisions.
Q: How important is diversity and inclusion during the hiring process at Be Intelligent?
A: At Be Intelligent it is incredibly important for us as it ensures we have top talent that have the right skills but most importantly the right attitude and way of thinking, and to date 64% of our staff are women.
We believe that the more diverse the team, the better the outcome as everyone brings a unique perspective to what we do. We value our team's opinions and outlook regardless of your role, tenure or experience.
Q: What can we do to increase the number of women in tech leadership positions?
A: Actively invest in women in the industry. Give them a voice and a platform and facilitate opportunities for them to excel. Regardless of gender, sometimes individuals just need to be given an opportunity to shine and to prove to themselves more than anything that they are capable.
Sze-Meeng Tan, Technical Consultant
Sze specialises in Sales Cloud, but has experience and qualifications across multiple Salesforce products. Sze has been working in the tech industry for three years and prior to joining our team was working across projects at Davanti Consulting and Lancom Technology. We love Sze’s passion for delivering exceptional service for our clients, as well her friendly, upbeat spirit and zest for good food!
Q: When did you first become interested in the tech industry?
A: I first became interested in tech during my first year studying engineering at university. There were a range of courses for different types and software engineering was the one that felt the most interesting. I was also interested in electrical engineering. Both the specialisations appealed to me because they were very logic heavy, which I enjoy. In a cohort of approximately 85 people, I was one of only 12 women.
Q: What are the biggest challenges women in tech are facing and how can they overcome these?
A: I wouldn't say this is THE biggest challenge, but the technology industry can be very male-dominated, which can be quite intimidating especially for women who are just starting out in this industry.
For me personally, I didn't find it nerve-wracking to be entering a male-dominated industry. Growing up, I participated in some male-dominated hobbies and worked alongside guys in high school, so I thought of entering the tech industry as no different.
In recent years, a lot of tech companies are hiring while conscious about maintaining gender diversity in the workplace. You might feel a little out of place at first, but don't be scared. Eventually you'll be recognised for your skill, your voice will be heard and your gender won't matter.
Q: What does it mean to you to be a “woman in tech”?
A: I’m proud to be striving for excellence and supporting people in a field that is accelerating at an incredible pace .
Diversity in tech is important for bringing in a range of perspectives to this traditionally homogenous industry. In this growing demand for skilled IT and technology professionals, I'm proud to be contributing to that diversity through my ideas and experiences.
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self starting a career in the tech industry?
A: Everyone has imposter syndrome. I know that everyone says "Don't be scared to ask questions" and while it may seem daunting, it's true. The more you ask, the more comfortable you'll feel with asking, and eventually the imposter syndrome will wither away.
Here at Be Intelligent, we are always on the lookout for new talent of all genders! We strongly believe that diversity fuels innovation, and are committed to an open and inclusive culture that brings out the best in our people, allowing them to be their true selves everyday. We're a driven and dynamic team in the middle of a growth spurt so if you're looking for a fun, faced-paced environment and the opportunity to really make your mark then look no further. Check out current vacancies or get in touch and introduce yourself, we can’t wait to hear from you.