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At Fujitsu Forum in Munich, Germany, Regina Moran – who recently took the post of CEO of Fujitsu’s UK and Ireland business – spoke of an urgent need to raise awareness of and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) careers.
Herself a former president of Irish engineering association Engineers Ireland – one of only three women to have held the post in a history that dates back to 1835 – Moran has long championed Stem subjects and career paths. During her tenure she was a frequent visitor to schools across the Republic and Northern Ireland to promote the industry.
“The global challenges that exist will only be solved by engineers and scientists, and we don’t have enough of them, in Ireland or the UK,” she said.
Speaking to Computer Weekly at the annual event, Moran said Stem needed to be promoted more actively outside the academic setting, and singled out the broadcast media as one area that could play a larger role.
Reflecting on the impact of popular TV shows such as CSI – which have fuelled a substantial increase in people choosing to study forensic science – Moran said IT was too often portrayed as “the geek in the corner” and suggested that more shows featuring tech skills in a starring role might help redress the balance.
“There is a pop cultural piece that could help, as well as reaching out to parents and schools,” said Moran.
Besides championing a more gender-balanced workforce, Fujitsu has one of the technology industry’s more active lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) associations, Shine, a frequent participant in pride parades around the UK. The company promotes awareness of other diversity issues such as race and even mental illness, which are often overlooked in the workplace.
“The real trick, though, is not diversity but inclusion. It’s fine to have these targets for representation but, culturally, do people feel included, do they feel they have a voice?” she said.
“Being able to show up and be open is very important.”