It’s no secret that gender diversity in the technology sector is an issue firms have been tackling for decades. A recent PwC report stated that only five percent of leadership positions in the technology industry are occupied by women.
Equally, those women who are in a tech role tend to leave the industry by the age of 35. A joint report by Accenture and Girls Who Code suggests the drop-out rate for women of this age is as high as 50%, compared with around 20% in other professions.
With an evident gender gap in the sector, how can we encourage more women to both pursue a career in technology and stay in one?
A study in the US found that mentoring programmes boosted minority representation at management levels from nine to 24%. The research also found they dramatically improved promotion and retention rates for minorities and women from 15% to 38%, compared with non-mentored employees.
Mentorships are a versatile solution to aiding individuals with their career development and improving their skills. By learning from someone who has made a successful career in the sector, you are able to understand first-hand what it takes to get there, as well as use your mentor’s knowledge and experience to guide you to your goals, both professionally and personally.
Participating in a technology mentoring programme positively impacts female team members - ensuring access to a successful role model and providing the opportunity to support and nurture the technology talent of the future
Benefits for the mentee
Being mentored can be an effective way to grow your network and improve your opportunities. With very few female leaders in the technology sector, finding someone who has walked a similar path is hugely beneficial, with advantages including:
Access to relevant contacts to network with
Opportunities to identify and correct skills and knowledge gaps
Building confidence in the workplace
Reducing feelings of isolation
Offer a neutral and objective perspective to your concerns
Providing someone to hold you accountable when achieving goals
Exposure to new ways of thinking
Benefits for the mentor
A mentor can be more than someone who provides knowledge and experience, but allows you access to a fresh perspective, through a mentee who is often from a different generation and background. Key benefits also include:
Recognition as an expert and leader in your field
Offering an opportunity to develop your management and teaching styles
Providing personal satisfaction and a chance for self-reflection
Exposure to new ideas outside of your organisation
Potential for networking
Benefits for a company
Businesses are always looking for new ways to nurture and retain their employees - a mentoring programme for women in tech could contribute to this goal. According to a report from Ceridian, 86% of employees believe it’s important for employers to provide learning opportunities.
Encouraging employees to participate in a mentorship programme can lead to better engagement, improved skills development and provide businesses with future professionals and leaders who can ultimately bring more success. It also helps companies to:
Enhance leadership skills
Cultivate a culture of personal and professional growth
Improve morale and engagement
Retain and develop staff
Demonstrate to future employees that their company values them and encourages progression and development
If you would like to participate in Reed’s Women in Technology Programme as a mentor, mentee, or employer, register your interest today.