Today (8th March) marks International Women's Day – a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world.
With women accounting for just 19 per cent of workers in the tech sector, it could be said that more needs to be done to inspire and encourage females in the industry. At Tisski, we’re proud to say that 37 per cent of our team are women and we only hope to see that number rising in the months and years to come, as we continue to grow.
Here, we share some thoughts, feelings and advice from some of the leading ladies around the organisation with a hope of encouraging women not to be afraid of making the tech industry their industry of choice.
As a young woman, I never felt there was a particular downside to being a woman in tech but when I look back in hindsight, I realise some things were more difficult; most of the people you’re speaking to, doing business with, partnering with are middle-aged men and there was me, a 26-year-old woman.
I think a female-led tech company can initially cause some surprise – certainly the two times I've done it, people maybe wouldn’t have described it as the ‘perfect fit’, and you do feel that need to prove yourself. Imposter syndrome has definitely been a hurdle of mine, and while I’ve always had an external veneer of confidence, I do feel I’ve questioned whether I deserve to be where I am. These days, I feel I do, but it’s such a big hurdle to overcome when you’re feeling like you haven’t earnt your seat at the table.
Being a woman in the tech industry can have its positives, as well. There’s so few of us female leaders in the sector that it can make us stand out and standing out in a crowd is important. Personally, I think the key is not to overly dwell on the negatives and just do the best job you can.
To any women hoping to break into the industry, I would say fight for a level playing field and always know that regardless of your gender, ethnicity or sexuality, you shouldn’t have to fight to be treated the right way. For me, it’s also so important that as women we support other women, so make sure to do that at every given opportunity.
As a Project Manager, I’m responsible for managing the delivery of project, monitoring time, deliverables and budget. I review and assess all associated project risks, issues and dependencies and help mitigate these when required.
I had the misconception that being a young female Project Manager may mean my voice was not heard. I was worried that people would not have faith in my leadership skills and would think they could micro-manage me. I was introduced to people already anticipating this would be the case and doubted myself from the start. When you begin to doubt yourself, you become more susceptible to these behaviours occurring.
Working at Tisski and with such amazing women who empowered me in my role meant I began to remove this apprehension and seeing these women thrive and succeed in their role gave me the ambition to do the same. I was reminded that I was hired for my personality and my skillset.
At Tisski, I feel a real sense of female empowerment, and having experienced sexism in the workplace elsewhere, I have found the support of close female colleagues here to be particularly amazing.
To any girls or young women considering a career in tech, just go for it! Yes, there may be a learning curve and at times you may face some discrimination, but you have the opportunity to prove to yourself and to everyone else that are more than capable. Don’t go into a role expecting that other people may think you’re less deserving as a woman; the best way to overcome that stigma is to have the confidence in yourself to prove it shouldn’t exist.
Day to day, I work with different customers who have a system in place but may be using multiple platforms or solutions and I translate their requirements into Dynamics. I help them make the move to Microsoft, ensuring that the best decisions are made, and the process is as efficient as possible. The end result - everything they need to carry out their day-to-day tasks and activities is all in one place, making their lives easier.
With technology, I love that an idea can become something visual and that there are no limits. My interest in technology actually comes from Sonic the Hedgehog! Playing Sonic aged three on the old Sega Genesis, the colourful tech and industrial backgrounds always enticed me and also how the Dr Robotnik used to come up with new robots to defeat Sonic on every second level.
I can say that I’ve never personally felt being a woman in the industry has affected me. I have always been head-strong on what I want to achieve. When things don’t go in the direction I want them to, I simply take it as, 'it wasn't meant to be' and move on. I do believe, though, that as women we can get underestimated at times and can have our capability debated.
If you’re a young woman aspiring to work in tech, just do you – do exactly what you want to achieve in life. If you face any hurdles along the way, just duck or jump and always make sure you’ve done your research. Knowledge is key.
I absolutely love working in the tech sector because there’s never a dull day. The core principles might remain the same, but the technology itself is always changing, so there’s always something new to learn.
As an ERP Consultant, my role is all about engaging with our clients, finding out their business needs and how the business works, but also how they’d like it to work in the future. From there, we design and build a system, and then deliver training and testing. Then it’s onto my favourite part, data migration and go-live – the part where you finally get to see the system you have been working on with the client, being used to help grow their business.
I used to be a management accountant and I had my own implementation of NAV. I enjoyed it so much that when I was asked to be a consultant, I jumped at the chance to learn more about the system that helped me as an end user – and the fact I have been in our clients’ finance teams’ shoes only makes my job easier.
I couldn’t have done it without two very good friends of mine, Fay and Craig, who not only inspired me but really believed in me. If it weren’t for them, I think I’d still be working as an end user. They pushed me, guided me and helped make me the consultant I am today.
At Tisski, Anna, Rich [Finance Director] and Adrian [Head of ERP] keep me inspired to be the best I can be, as well. I believe Tisski in all manners of the business are diverse and to have a female at the top in a very male-driven industry is amazing.
I think being a woman in any male-centric industry is difficult, but it does feel like the tech industry is ahead the curve in terms of the support and opportunities it can offer women. In previous roles, I have certainly felt like I needed to choose between my career and my role as a mum and wife, but at Tisski I feel I can do both. I think that is not only down to the utilisation of tech, but also the modern ways of thinking that tech companies such as Tisski feed into their organisational culture.
There are so many things I love about the tech sector - how there are always solutions and options to explore and possibilities seem endless, and also how the people I have encountered in the industry support and boost each other. In tech, most people have a willingness to learn and also teach, which in turn helps everyone.