#HRTechWorld addresses gender balance in Tech
The pink elephant - gender balance in Tech
If you haven't been to an #HRTechWorld conference you should go. There is another one in Paris in October. You can see a palpable and invigorating energy which extends from the exhibition floor to the main stage, through to the break out rooms. There is lively discussion focused around innovation, disruption, leadership trends and the future of work. Technological process intersects with conceptual thinking and philosophy, to produce a heady cocktail of ideas, thoughts and buzz. Add a fun element: walking trees and clouds, talking sofas and selfies with Umpa-Lumpas. And not forgetting a calorie on every corner.
The exhibition hall is where the jeans and sneaker brigade, with maybe the odd hat, meets the suits. Here the talk is of latest developments, the place where the practical meets the philosophical and a new generation of innovators gets to pitch their ideas.
Inspirational Key Notes
[Tweet "The keynote speakers are excellent, polished and passionate about their subjects."] Simon Sinek was a new speaker for me. Author of "Start with Why" he is presenter of the third most watched TedX Video "How great leaders inspire action." He talked eloquently and convincingly about the need to move away from dopamine addicted leadership to trust, collaboration and responsibility. His inspiring rallying cry was:
"be the leader you wish you had had."
He reminded us that good leaders are "responsible for their people who are responsible for their results" and urged us to reward the behaviour we wish to see.
Jason Averbrook predicted a dramatic shift in workplace structures, transforming jobs and functions, to make many elements of the current HR function redundant. He urged us all again that technology would only function effectively if the end-users thought data was "sexy" and used it meaningfully. He wants end users to appreciate the process, they will move from "adoption to addiction."
"Too many HR systems are designed for HR, not the workforce who use them."
But this buzz, the atmosphere and language are resolutely male. Women make up 76% of the HR function, yet I would guess on a look-see basis the balance at the conference was roughly 70%:30%, men to women. The language of the culture is peppered with sporting and military metaphors.
It's all benign. There is no ill intent. No one thinks twice about it.
And that's exactly the problem. One female participant said she is so used to it, she no longer notices. We hear about Black Belts, scrums, squads, ninjas, killer apps, champions, heroes and winners.
Skirting around the pink elephant
With the focus on the future, the one issue that is usually skirted around (literally) was tackled in greater depth. That is the topic of the lack of gender balance in tech. Or lack thereof.
Heidi Spirgi, SVP products and Services at Marcus Buckingham, in her round table session on women in tech, shared some stats. Women represent 60% of graduates, 50% of the workforce and influence 80% of consumer decisions. McKinsey estimate that advancing gender balance can add $12 trillion to global growth. Although the numbers vary internationally, women are sorely under represented in the tech sector. Even in Google, only 30% of the workforce is female.
— Sandra Cameron (@Sandycc751) March 16, 2016
Her feelings were unequivocal. In the Tech sector, which lies at the cutting edge of future developments, she maintains we are replicating old school models of influence, power and money. Women occupy just 17% of tech jobs in the UK, a number which has plateaued in the past five years despite the sector growing in importance to the economy.
— David Green (@david_green_uk) March 16, 2016
There are 600,000 open vacancies in the sector, forecast to rise to 1m by 2020, with a massive skill set deficit, where we are overlooking or losing, half of our talent pool. There was no doubt in her mind that for all businesses to succeed, not just tech, gender balance is vital. This can't be achieved with things as they are.
This business point was reinforced in the final wrap up by Anne-Marie Tomchak who reminded us of the commercial repercussions of excluding women. Apple initially neglected to include a tracker for women's menstrual cycles in their Health App, missing a huge global demographic of billions of girls and women aged 13-50, simply because there were no women developers on the team.
Biggest disruption will be people
So the biggest disruption and innovations in Tech may not only be a widget, gizmo, app or process. The biggest challenge to the future of work will be as Lane Fox called for, new ideas to radicalize our organisations going forward, where we will see balance and diversity. When we are talking about new leadership approaches of trust and collaboration (Sinek) and people management (Averbrook,) we should be taking responsibility to include women. Gender balance in Tech is not just a nice to have, but vital for business success.
Simon Sinek mentioned that good leadership is about serving. "Officers eat last" he said.
Well, generally so do mothers
If you are looking to strengthen your female talent pipeline hiring and retaining the best talent contact us NOW!
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Dates for the Diary
November 12th European Commission DG GROW
Informal talk on how to deal with sexism - 12.30 - 1400
November 25th Council of the European Union - Corporate Event
How to deal with sexism and harassment in the workplace
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
Sexism: How to stage a Bystander Intervention in the Workplace In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
To overcome negative self-talk, we need to break out of the low self-esteem cycle that keeps us trapped low instead of reaching our full potential.read more
A company might sound like they are diverse and inclusive, but make sure to do a thorough investigation into gender washing.read more
It might not be apparently obvious how a consensual relationship can turn someone into a poor brand ambassador, but we need to take into account the power structures at play.read more