The recent Federal budget shone much needed light on the shortcomings of technology education in Australian schools. At long last, politicians are recognising the need for better early stage training and are beginning to talk about introducing coding in primary and secondary schools across Australia. It's about time.
Expert360, https://expert360.com/ is an online marketplace for freelance professionals. Not only has the business been successful in the consulting market, but the company now has more than 50 per cent female employees working in tech-based roles. This is extremely rare for a tech startup.
The latest ABS data shows there are just 18 per cent of women working in the Australian tech workforce. It's more than just an uneven playing field - technology-based businesses are actually missing out by not having more women on the front line. Here are 3 reasons why:
1. The tech industry needs women to create a supportive environment accepting of failure, and a workforce who is able to learn from it.
In the technology industry, things break, explode, collapse…..it's just part of the business. Particularly for tech startups, a culture of 'fail fast, learn fast and move past" is extremely healthy and in many cases necessary.
Men are often more likely to blame someone else or circumstances other than themselves in the event of failure. This can cause -blame-tag', with responsibility being transferred from co-worker to co-worker rather than rapidly learning and building a better business in light of the experience.
In contrast, women are often found to blame themselves in the workplace rather than each other - while it's no good for self-worth (!), it can mean a less hostile working environment and the making of a successful business.
2. Women tend to have higher emotional intelligence.
This emotional insight gives women the ability to understand other employees, increasing the potential for collaboration to develop new products in innovative ways.
Women's emotional intelligence has another benefit for tech companies. At the beginning of the tech boom, businesses were all about the speed, size, endurance and ability of the technology. However, there has been a clear shift in focus with a newfound preference to consider how technology can improve lives. What matters now is user empathy and the user journey. How did the consumer get to where they are? How can we think like them? Having a large percentage of women in tech roles has allowed a startup like Expert360 to have an insight into the consumer thought process and consumer psychology, a definite advantage in the tech industry.
3. Women can multitask
It's well known that women are great at multi tasking! A study published in the journal BMC Psychology provided evidence that not only are women more able to complete a number of tasks at the same time, but women are more organised, better at prioritising projects and are able to remain calm under pressure. In the dynamic operating environment of a tech startup, the ability to multitask is a clear advantage and a must-have-skill. It allows tech businesses to move quickly and respond to a stream of opportunities, while remaining firmly grounded and focused on the end goal.
Big tech companies are missing out on the innovation and positive-failure culture that women can bring to the tech table. Through implementing coding education in schools, a young and upcoming generation of women will be encouraged to choose technology-based careers and take on more senior executive roles.
Not only should women have the same opportunities as men, but tech companies deserve the same opportunities as other industries: access to the top talent.
By Jane Watson – Head of Operations – EXPERT360