Career Stories: Women in Tech Webinar
Recently, on Oct 13th, Peoplebank’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee hosted a Women in Tech Webinar, facilitated by our Account Manager Chathu Jayawardena.
Peoplebank realises that introducing more women into the STEM industry can help aid the skills shortage issues the recruitment industry is currently facing as well as the fact that it is still necessary and important to be talking about increasing diversity in the tech industry, especially for women.
“Did you know that since 2012 there has only been a 1% increase in women enrolled in tech related education?" 
The webinar included the inspirational career journeys of three trailblazers in our industry.
We spoke with Luci Caldwell, Product Architect at Aurion, Jiaranai (Jia) Keatnuxsuo, Solution Architect at Microsoft, and Tara Ahmad, Senior Project Manager with The Victorian Government.
A great number of topics were covered in the hour-long webinar including the career journeys of our panellists from where they began their interest in technology to how they ended up in their current positions, including major career turning points.
Top Tips for Women in Tech Roles
The greatest take away from the webinar were lessons learned and top tips from our panellists on how to excel within the tech industry as a woman, including:
- Just go for it! Take on challenges that scare you.
- Deepen your learning and education.
- Prioritise developing soft skills such as relationship building, stakeholder management and your communication skills.
- Look for different roles within your current organisation, or through networking such as Testing roles or Admin roles which are good starting points for a tech career.
- Ask to try new things, if you want experience in a certain area, let people know and allow people to help you learn.
- To reach for project management roles in tech, focus on collaboration and leadership skills as much as technical skills (Again, harness consulting skills and your emotional intelligence!).
- Know what is happening in your organisation strategically and gain a wider understanding of business operations.
- Accept that there are challenges and skills you won’t have straight away but be open-minded to learning new things and accepting those challenges as part of your growth.
Top Tips for Women Entering the IT Industry
Our panellists also provided some great tips for women entering the tech industry (most of which could apply to women already working in tech too!):
- Ask for 10% more salary than you think you are worth.
- Sit at the table, behave like you deserve to be there, don’t be afraid to speak up.
- Don’t ‘apologise’ unless you’ve actually done something you need to take responsibility for.
- Get out of your comfort zone and apply for jobs you’re not 100% qualified for.
- A strange one… but limit your head nodding. Some people view head nodding as agreement, even if you are just actively listening.
- Support other women on their career journey too. Always lift others up with you.
- Absorb, learn and explore as much as possible.
- Know yourself, your strengths, and weaknesses and what you like and don’t like.
- Find clarity about what you want to do and pursue.
- Just because there is inequality in the industry, don’t hold that perception when going for roles, or even within your role.
- Call out inequality when you see it, especially for others who are too shy to confront the issue themselves.
- Get to know people and network in the industry! Put yourself out there to be found.
Find role models such as people you look up to and who can help show you the way. Be specific when reaching out to these people about what you would like guidance on.
Tips for Employers Wanting to Attract Female Candidates
The session ended with some great questions. An important topic that was raised was if there were any tips or advice for employers in the industry that could support women entering the tech industry. Some great answers included:
- Focus on the skills and experience you are looking for when hiring and remove gender as part of the equation.
- Focus on outcomes, like what can the person achieve, not ‘how’ the person achieves this.
- Support leadership programs and development for your female colleagues.
- Make an effort to treat everyone equally and create an inclusive space for all of your workforce.
Overall, the discussion was incredibly helpful and as you can see covered a lot of motivational and practical tips for women entering or already in the tech workforce.
We look forward to more webinars like this in the future! Let us know if there are any particular topics you’d like us to discuss next time at firstname.lastname@example.org.