Robert Kneschke -

IWD: Work to be done on equal pay and representation

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to highlight the progress made and the steps still needed to improve diversity

Women across the channel are reflecting on the progress made with diversity in the industry and are calling on more to be done to increase levels of inclusivity further.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is inclusion, and female figures across the channel have been sharing their views on how that could be improved.

Equal pay is still an area that needs some attention if more women and girls are going to be attracted into the industry.

Jamie Thompson, vice-president of engineering at security player Brivo, said that there continues to be pay gaps based on gender. “Despite progress, there remains a persistent gender pay gap for engineers. Estimates range that the pay gap for women software engineers is anywhere from 5-31%. Throughout my career, I’ve found that I need to advocate especially hard for women when it comes to equal pay,” she said.

Although there has been progress, and the number of women working in senior roles across the channel is testament to that, frustration continues on the pay front.

“How is it in 2024 we are still dealing with pay gaps, being passed over for promotions, and having to fight twice as hard to get a seat at the table? And why do we as women feel we must be more than fully qualified for a new role, while our male colleagues are willing to ‘go for it’ with half the experience? The hard work is figuring out how to build organisations that don’t just give lip service about diversity but genuinely hear and value different voices and perspectives,” said Sandy Mahla, district sales manager at Datadobi.

Daniela Nyarko, head of strategic sales at Canva EMEA, said that there are areas of business underrepresented by women. “While progress has been made, women continue to face unique challenges and barriers in the tech industry, with women making up just 16% of sales managers in tech, including SaaS,” she said.

“More women joining the industry means more diversity and new viewpoints – both essential needs for a more inclusive and vibrant work environment, and positively affecting long-term talent attraction,” she added.

Other women echoed the view that mixed teams produce better results and that increasing diversity is beneficial to the wider business.

“Women make up 28% of the tech workforce, with 25% representation at the C-Level. According to research by Morgan Stanley, companies with diversity, including gender diversity, have outperformed their peers by 1.2% per year. So, the question is, ‘What can business do to better support women?’” asked Kelly Titterington Wells, vice president of global operations at Object First.

Sippora Veen, head of partner marketing at Sage, said that diversity is a clear benefit to the channel: “In the channel industry, just like in tech broadly, striving for diversity isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s essential for sparking new ideas and meeting the varied needs of customers worldwide. When we bring together voices from different backgrounds, especially those that haven’t always been heard, we unlock new levels of creativity, solve problems more effectively, and create products that appeal to a wider range of people.

“Looking at the complex challenges our sector faces and the significant breakthroughs we see in the industry reminds me every day of the power of listening to a variety of voices. It’s not just about filling a quota or being politically correct. It’s about enriching our work and the tech community as a whole with the vast spectrum of human experience,” she added.

Firms looking to bring more women on board need to see it as more than a tick box exercise and embrace what inclusivity to its fullest extent means in a workplace in order to be successful.

“Organisations that support women in defining goals and creating pathways to achieve those goals will be more successful in developing female leaders and increasing their ranks at senior levels than those organisations that do not. In addition to individualised plans, organisations should ensure inclusive, equitable systemic policies and practices around flexible work, pay equity, and hiring and advancement,” said Clar Rosso, CEO at ISC2.

The current channel leaders are the ones that will be able to shape that outcome and deliver a more diverse workforce.

“If we want girls and young women to pursue a career in technology, it’s up to today’s leaders to create inclusive environments and drive forward initiatives that will allow women to excel – for example, by improving the mentorship opportunities available to women," said Alex Tempest, managing director at BT Wholesale.

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