Lessons from Top Companies for Women Technologists
If you’re a female, you probably wonder which companies are best suited for women in the technology field. You’re also probably wondering how these successful companies achieve this great workplace for women workers. Three of Anita Borg Institutes Top Companies for Women Technologists is IBM, Google, and Accenture.
Nancy Lee, VP/People Operations at Google, talked a little about the statistics pertaining to women in their company. “At Google, we’ve published our numbers; women make up 30 of our workforce. We published this in 2014. Since then, we have increased by 1% in the last year. In the past, we’ve had 27% of our hiring of women on the technical side, now it is at 34%. We are hiring larger percentages year over year and hoping to accelerate that,” Lee said.
Executive women in companies are continuing to try and raise that number. But with unconscious bias in our systems, it’s hard.
Kathryn Guarini, VP ZSystems & Linuxone at IBM, said they have a very broad diverse space. “We are looking for skills across the board. Overall, the company is filled 30% with women, while executive positions rank is at 23%”
Lee mentions that we can’t stamp out unconscious bias because it has been part of the system for so long.
“We grew up in an environment that is largely male, we are just used to it. We have grown up with a sense of the unconscious biases. The unconscious bias training in our company is as much for the women as it is for the men,” Guarini said.
“At Accenture, we have 3 women on global management counsel, we need to do better there. We are shy of 36% total in our company. It really is hard moving up percentage wise. We use analytics to see where a good source of talent is. We looked at how we were presenting ourselves digitally, in our job descriptions and roles. I realized it didn’t appeal to women, so we had to rewrite things. We are trying to make our women digitally visible and externally, by speaking at conferences or to the media. We want to try and get our women out externally,” Shelly Swanback, Group Operating Officer at Accenture Digital said.
A lot of women are doing computer science, so Google goes to schools whose demographics reflect the diversity. “We want to see this in our workplace,” Lee said. “In the development space, we’re including mentorships and sponsorships so there’s a lot of programatic solutions.”
Guarini acknowledges that companies realize the issues from a business perspective. “Diversity drives value and more collaborative innovation in a business,” Guarini said.
When the panelists were asked how they work with programs for millennial and women of color, Swanback mentioned how they have weekend retreats to create a more personal environment and give everyone a chance to get to know each other. “I think for millennials, it is great to have them involved in creating programs we’re doing. The best ones are those that are designed for those they are created for,” Swanback said.
Guarini states that there is not a one size fits all model. “Each of us work in different industries and environments. You need to find what makes sense for your company. We need to have a close to equal representation for gender in job roles,” Guarini said.
One of our SXTXState writers, Becca Silvas, asked Kathryn Guarini what the best advice for women not as technologically-savy.