What does it take to be a woman leader in tech in 2021?
Ildiko Sas, Managing Director at Xoomworks Technology, talks about what Xoomworks is doing to support more women to move into technology leadership roles and why it matters.
Walking the talk | supporting access to leadership roles for women
The current statistics aren’t particularly encouraging. Despite some growth in the number of women working in technology and IT roles, female representation in the technology sector has stalled over the last ten years. Only 3% of women say a career in tech is their first choice (Source:pwc Women in Tech). More significant is women in tech who quit their jobs is twice that of their male counterparts (Source: Ncwit)
Xoomworks has experienced a significant increase in the number of women working in technology and technology-related roles, especially in our Eastern Europe locations. Bulgaria and Romania are in the top 10 best countries for women to work in, according to a recent study by digital marketing company rebootonline.com. Its ‘Women in Work Index’ factored in economic opportunity, women in leadership roles and maternity leave provision.
Demand for tech skills
As the demand for tech-qualified people has risen, our talent pool has expanded naturally to include more women, many of whom are taking up tech roles in software engineering and development. It helps that Xoomworks Technology has long-established systems and processes for helping teams work remotely and that flexible working allows women to combine family life and work more easily.
Still not enough women leaders
However, women are still under-represented when it comes to leadership. And this is something we are addressing within Xoomworks Technology. We've focused on creating strategic initiatives and programmes that benefit all our employees but are designed to facilitate and encourage more women to join the company and move into leadership positions.
Personal development bubbles, coaching and mentoring - both informally and formally, are available to all employees. However, there are extra support initiatives designed specifically to support women move into leadership roles.
Supportive work environment
Providing a supportive environment is key to attracting, developing, and retaining female talent. One of Xoomwork’s values that employees spontaneously bring up when asked about life at Xoomworks is “caring”. We genuinely care about our people, our clients and our community, reflecting in the responsibility we all take for our work.
It’s one reason Xoomworks has successfully attracted exceptional female talent, enjoying an above-average number of women in leadership roles for our industry. Women account for almost half (48%) of Department Heads for Technology, Delivery and Operations, and Practice Leads.
A non-traditional business structure
Often a business's structure and processes can hold back women from moving into leadership roles. Old-fashioned hierarchies may struggle, particularly in organisations where leaders feel remote and unconnected from their employees. At Xoomworks Technology employees have easy access to leadership. One team leader explained the organisational structure at Xoomworks Technology as a ‘network with human-to-human concentration points.’ There is always someone you can reach out to beyond your immediate team who you can learn from and who will go the extra mile to help you out. It's also invaluable as leadership development goes to be close to other leaders.
It's the culture...and it makes sense
Ildi believes it is important to continually seek new and innovative ways to support women in our organisation and encourage more women to take on leadership roles. That includes creating the right structures and training to inspire and prepare all our team members to develop their leadership skills in ways that recognise that work is a part of life. Equally important, however, is defending a culture where individuals feel valued and supported.
When women become leaders, they bring a different set of skills, perspectives, and a highly collaborative approach, all of which are so important for finding new, more effective solutions and building strong teams. In a business that strives to be the best partners and problem-solvers for our clients, having more women in tech leadership roles makes sense.
Xoomworks Technology is currently hiring a number of flexible-working mid and senior-level technology roles.