Women in IT: still a rare sight?

  • Posted on July 31, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Women in IT at Avanade Belgium

In the land of IT, the few women are queen

Facts don’t lie. We must accept that women in IT are still a minority. The need for IT talent has never been higher. That means we are at risk of worsening the female/male ratio as the IT business continues to expand.

Unfortunately, stereotypes and clichés are still the main cause of this disparity. According to a 2015 study by Accenture, about one third of young people still think that technology is more suited for boys than for girls. And both parents and teachers continue to push girls into more traditional professions such as health care and teaching professions.

Something needs to change, and it needs to change now. This need for change was the driver for a new strategic direction here at Avanade Belgium. The challenge is twofold: whilst the primary goal is to focus on attracting more females to join Avanade, it’s important to address the social challenges that exist and find ways to get more children – particularly young girls - acquainted with IT.

In that light, we teamed up with like-minded associations who are as passionate as we are about strengthening the role of women in the workplace and who actively help promote the IT and consultancy industry to young girls (and children in general) such as CoderDojo, Elles Bougent, Django Girls and Women Hack. It’s not just the financial support, but the physical actions that make a difference, with our own employees stepping forward to coach children during programming workshops and actively participating at events organized by these associations.

In addition to supporting these long-term initiatives, we invested in a plan to attract more females to Avanade in the near-term. We created a local working group of both female and male employees and brainstormed how to stand out in the so called “war for talent”.

We figured that people would respond and react more positively to us if we presented a more personal identity to Avanade Belgium. To attract more female candidates, a group of Avanade Belgian women worked together to create a compelling story that dispels some of the typical clichés that exist around females working in IT/consultancy:

  • Consultants are workaholics, there is no work/life balance
  • Consultancy/IT is a men's world
  • As an IT’er you only sit behind your screen all day coding

The result is a strong video where the personal character of a group of females, together, shape our identity as an inclusive and respectful company. By adding a glimpse of their private life, we demonstrate how our women thrive personally and translate their personalities into the day-to-day job at Avanade. These individuals share a common view: life is good in IT, for men and women, at a company that chooses to put its employees first and strive for diversity and inclusion.

Women in IT at Avanade Belgium

The proof is in the pudding; after launching the renewed ‘Women at Avanade’ website and sharing the video through social channels, we received this feedback from a recent female candidate: "By looking around on your website and social media, I was immediately attracted to your company, more specifically ‘Women at Avanade’. Women can realize their ambitions in their IT careers without losing sight of their personal lives. In addition, the close and enthusiastic team also stood out in one of your films."

Although this effort may be just a drop in the bucket, it is still an important stepping stone towards the future growth of female employee base. Visit our renewed Women at Avanade page and learn more about our initiatives.

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