By Katherine Van Pelt, Vice President, Strategic Marketing, Randstad Technologies
In a creative contribution to gender equality, Melinda Gates recently announced
that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will invest $80 million over the next three years to help close the gender gap by helping to close the data gap. “This money will improve the way data is collected — and the way it is used — to provide a fuller, richer picture of the challenges women and girls face, and what can be done to overcome them,” Gates says.
This move is great on a couple of levels. The funding and the data gathered will be tremendously valuable. Also, as I work for a technology and talent provider, I like the fact that data will come to the aid of a problem we’ve all been trying to solve for a long time now. We’ve been talking about the dearth of women in technology for years, and despite efforts on various fronts, the number of women in tech jobs is still not what we’d like it to be.
Why is this still an issue? Some speculate that girls aren’t being exposed to STEM early enough in their education. Others say that maybe women just aren’t interested in tech jobs. If that’s the case, then perhaps we’re defining “tech” too narrowly.
Here at Randstad Technologies we’re helping companies assemble the best teams possible for technology services that include wireless implementation, service desk support, point-of-sale deployments, and full-scale IT installations and upgrades. We define a tech career not only as software development and infrastructure design but also as program management and deployment oversight. The teams that go into our client sites need to be dynamic, creative and diverse. We need ideas and viewpoints that challenge the status quo and bring the best thinking to bear. And yes, that means we need women on our teams.
With many organizations working within tight IT budgets, out-of-the-box thinking is essential to completing projects efficiently and successfully. A diverse team lends itself to such thinking. We believe that organizations need not only the latest capabilities in technology, but also the best talent we can assemble. That includes gender diversity as well as diversity in terms of age, background and experience. So for us, increasing the numbers of women in technology is not only the right thing to do; it’s essential for a strong IT marketplace.
In exploring the women in tech issue on Medium, we’re discovering the diversity amongst our own women leaders at Randstad Technologies. There’s no one size fits all, and it’s fascinating to discover how women of all backgrounds end up in IT. We’ve already heard some compelling stories on women entering IT without a traditional STEM background.
Mollee Bobusch discussed
the motivations that propelled her into her career in IT, and Ingrid Wade recently spoke with IT Business Edge
about how she has learned her IT skills on the job. Katrice McCullough offered insight
into how her career was shaped by strong mentors. We’ll be hearing more about the different ways the women of Randstad Technologies contribute to businesses processes and the ways they’ve had a lasting impact on projects, both as team members and leaders.
While there are still far too few women pursuing STEM degrees, I also want to encourage those without them to consider the benefits of a career in tech. You can learn by doing, as many of our best women leaders have. So, smart women, let’s be creative, as Melinda Gates has in funding data collection about women. If you enjoy coding for a living, we need you. And if you don’t but want to solve problems creatively and help clients advance business strategies through efficient IT, we also need you. Give it a go!
Katherine Van Pelt is Vice President, Strategic Marketing, at Randstad Technologies, a role she has held since 2011. In this capacity, she is involved in all areas of marketing for the company in the US, including: strategy, thought leadership, case study development, website, public relations, industry events, and social media. Katherine also leads a global project to grow Randstad Technologies’ IT business in Europe and the Asia Pacific region.
About Randstad Technologies: Randstad Technologies has been connecting top companies around the globe with the expert technology talent and solutions that drive their success since 1984. Their deep industry expertise and full-service capabilities — Recruitment, Consulting, Projects and Outsourcing — enable organizations to be agile, productive and ahead in the field with Randstad’s wide network of specialists and flexible solutions. For more information, visit www.randstadtechnologies.com.