Role model blog: Charlotta Harald, Accenture

Half of the women working in technology roles have set their sights on leadership positions. However, as much as one third find it difficult to thrive in technology roles. Women in tech also experience inequality when it comes to salaries – 36 percent are under the impression that men get paid more for the same work.

In this blog post, I talk about something very close to my heart: gender equality and inclusivity in tech world.

Women in Tech Finland, Mimmit Koodaa and Tekniikan Akateemiset along with Accenture set up a survey for women in technology roles, with the objective to understand the inclusivity of workplace cultures in Finland and its impact on how females thrive at work.

Nearly 800 tech women responded to the survey.

Charlotta Harald, Marketing & Communications Lead at Accenture

Are you retaining or driving women away? 

Based on the responses, we identified two different groups: those who feel that their work culture is inclusive and those who feel that it isn’t. The differences in the experiences between these two groups were dramatic. 

73% of the women working in an inclusive work culture love their job and 85% are happy with how their careers are advancing. Only one in ten believe that men get paid more for the same job or experience that they are treated more junior than their male counterparts in similar roles. Women working in inclusive work cultures are also loyal towards their employers and believe that they can thrive in technology roles – only 7% think they will leave their current employer within the next two years. 

In less inclusive work places the situation is the opposite and outright alarming. Distrust towards the organization’s own commitment to workplace equality decreases the employees’ engagement and belief in their own competence and success. Less than a tenth of the respondents see that they can thrive in technology roles and over half of the women think they will leave their current employer within two years. 75 % think that they are seen as more junior than their male colleagues and 64 % believe that men get paid more for the same job.

There’s no silver bullet – an inclusive work culture is a mix of ingredients 

How is an inclusive culture then created? The survey revealed 7 elements that significantly impact how females in technology roles thrive in tech:  

  • Employees can work at their best in the workplace 
  • Everyone can be their true selves at work
  • The workplace culture doesn’t exclude anybody
  • Employees feel trusted and are given responsibility
  • Promotions are fair
  • There is no tolerance for sexual harassment 
  • The organization succeeds in attracting, retaining and advancing women

In order for change to happen inclusivity needs to measured and led systematically 

In many organizations leaders think that they have already succeeded in building an inclusive work culture, while employees see things differently.

The first step is therefore to understand and accept the current state of the organization and in what situations women feel discriminated. Leaders need to know what factors push women away from technology roles and which in turn attract them to these roles. 

“In many organizations, leaders think that they have already succeeded in building an inclusive work culture – while employees see things differently.”

The respondents appreciate concrete and visible actions that improve the inclusivity of the organization and companies should actively communicate about these. For example, in job interviews the respondents would like to hear about how the organization is committed to building a diverse and inclusive workplace where all types of employees can thrive. Setting public targets is also a good way to show that a company is serious about inclusion and diversity. A third of the survey respondents stated that their organizations hasn’t set public targets yet.

There’s no point in complaining about the lack of talent if you don’t invest in your employees

Finding tech talent is very challenging and during 2021 a record amount of people have left their jobs – Forbes calls this phenomena “The Great Resignation Migration”. 

To make technology roles attractive for future talent, we need to take good care of the current employees. An inclusive work culture is beneficial for all and drives employee engagement and retention. To attract more women to technology roles, companies need to promote female role models who will champion women in the workplace. 

Inclusivity is not a “soft value” that should be considered only once the business is growing in the right direction – it is a key success factor for all types of organizations both from a business and talent attraction point of view. 

Read more about the research here.