Business takes the lead for Digital Tech Women
Technology Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the sector, today launched a new business strategy group for companies committed to gender parity in digital technology. ‘Business for Digital Tech Women’ has the ambitious aim of accelerating national action on gender balance, across businesses which employ ICT workers.
The National Council of Business for Digital Tech Women will provide a new ‘think-tank’ and enterprise leadership forum for Ireland. Companies on the council include AWS, Google, Cisco, Cognisant, CWSI, Distilled SCH, Oracle, Quantcast, VMware, Workhuman, Xilinx, Liberty IT, Fidelity Investments, and Openet representing small, medium and large companies which employ digital technology staff. They are joined by key agencies - IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Skillnet Ireland.
It is now widely accepted that the full participation of women at all levels of seniority in business has a direct impact on the performance of the business. However, like other countries, digital women are underrepresented in Ireland (at 19% of the total ICT workforce) and the male/female ratio women is lower at more senior levels. Women are also 5 times more likely to leave the digital technology sector.
‘Business for Digital Tech Women’ is advocating the creation of new solutions by businesses. It will generate a series of collaborative and organisational initiatives to enable companies to attract, retain, develop and advance women in digital technology.
Speaking at the launch, Chairperson of the group Karen Egan, Vice President, Advanced Customer Engagement at VMware outlined: “We have a challenging and ambitious remit to enable the Irish business sector to become the most innovative and active tech community globally for gender parity. Business for Women in Digital Technology will provide a nexus for local and organisational action, it will enable and inform the business community and will champion solutions which have the greatest impact on the development of women in our sector.”
Working towards gender balance in tech workplaces is a business imperative now well proven to have real impacts on the bottom line. Eoghan O’Faolain, Acting Director of Technology Ireland cites the EU Commission findings that if more women enter the digital jobs market, it could create an annual €16 billion GDP boost for the European economy. He said: “With 18,000 new jobs being created by the tech sector each year and a shortage of staff to fill open roles, ensuring that our tech workplaces are great places for women is one of the highest priorities for our sector”.
The Technology Ireland Software Skillnet has already made strides in this agenda, through their Women ReBOOT and Women TechStart programmes, which already enable over 50 companies across the sector to re-introduce ICT professionals to open roles or retrain women from different backgrounds for jobs in digital technology.
Skillnet Ireland, the national agency for workforce development, a partner in the initiative, is sponsoring a ground-breaking research study to examine the experience of digital women and business leaders across Ireland. Commenting on the Business for Digital Tech Women initiative, Paul Healy, Chief Executive of Skillnet Ireland said: “We are pleased to be partnering with the Technology Ireland Software Skillnet and Business for Digital Tech Women, on this important piece of research, which will assess the current state of the organisational practices on gender parity and their effectiveness. Only by fully understanding our current corporate competency in gender practices for Digital Tech Women, can employers map an effective path towards their vision for women in digital tech.”