Sara Ebsworth Mar 25, 2021 12:44:25 PM 8 min read

Untapped talent – how do we encourage more women to consider tech careers?

We’re always looking for great people and often enough we can’t find them as fast as we’d like to. So, we have to think creatively about new ways to find talent and how to expand our options.
In our industry most technical roles are filled by men, and when we advertise for these positions there are hardly ever women among the applicants. Don’t get me wrong, we have some amazing talented guys at Inde and we want more of them. But we know women can do amazing things with technology and there are some outstanding examples of highly technical women leading in their fields, including our very own Data & Integration Lead, Sofia Ng.

We reckon there is a huge amount of untapped talent out there among women that would be a major boost for the tech industry if only more of them would consider it as a career option. We know it’ll take a generation to change the underlying reasons for the scarcity of women in tech roles, and that huge effort is going into this, locally in our schools and around the world. Change will come, but rather than wait for it we thought we’d see what we can do to contribute, right here, right now.

We began looking at initiatives to encourage more women to consider tech as a career. We engaged with one of our clients, the Ara Institute of Canterbury for guidance. Ara are one of New Zealand's leading tertiary providers of industry-led applied ICT and computing qualifications. They offer a range of programmes and courses that have been developed in partnership with the industry, which keeps course content highly relevant and means their graduates are more industry ready. They were already keen to encourage women into the tech sector, so we joined forces to provide scholarships for promising female students studying ICT at Ara.

"A key component of studying IT at Ara is gaining real-world experience by working in the IT industry as an integrated part of the learning," says Nigel Young, Head of Ara’s Enterprise and Digital Innovation Department. "This new relationship with Inde builds on that solid foundation and provides our learners with support from successful local industry, as well as encouraging much-needed female participation in the rapidly growing area of IT and tech careers."

We're offering two scholarships for women students: Women in Tech Kickstart for first-year students, to encourage those who are choosing a career towards IT, and Women in Tech Infrastructure for those who have done really well in first year and have chosen to follow the Networking Infrastructure pathway in their second year.

Key considerations for us when choosing suitable applicants are seeing a passion for technology and understanding why they have chosen IT as a career. We were lucky enough to meet and choose our first scholarship recipients in late 2020, exceptional students who have just kicked off this years’ study. We’re excited to see them succeed and look forward to updates from them as their knowledge grows and they continue to evolve their learning paths.

Of course, we hope that when they graduate these women might apply to join our team here at Inde, and we're excited about building relationships with future talent, but our main goal is to encourage more women to undertake a degree in IT and to support them through it so that the tech industry will benefit from their education, skills and talent when they graduate.

We've started with the Ara scholarships, but we're still on the lookout for other initiatives aimed at encouraging women to join the tech sector that we can be involved with. If you're part of an organisation with similar goals and have ideas about working with us to achieve them, that's a discussion we'd be very keen to have. The more tech companies that get on board, the better chance we have of seeing more talented and amazing women joining our teams.

If you’re a woman in IT, join our team. If you’re a team interested in helping get more women in the industry, drop us a line.

About the author

Sara Ebsworth

Culture drives any successful business and is key to Inde’s success. Here to make sure Inde is the place to be is our Kaihautū Whakawhanake Tāngata (People & Development Director), Sara. Sara's purpose at Inde is to create and maintain a great place for great people to thrive in their work by enabling every employee to grow, develop, and reach their full potential. Sara's background includes a dabble in IT that led to a Systems Improvement role with a learning and development spin. It sparked a passion for helping people reach their potential that has guided her career path since. Now focused on the success of Inde and our people, Sara spends her time on initiatives to make Inde the best place to work, trying to bring a sense of humour to all things HR, planning legendary team parties and generally making sure everyone at Inde is living their best life. Away from work Sara loves getting outdoors for any kind of adventure, hiking, camping, anything on the water and exploring anywhere new. She's currently studying part time at Ara towards Te Pōkaitahi Reo Māori (a Certificate in Māori Language) and is a passionate advocate for te reo.