Women in Tech: Why I'm planning my future with GBG
The phrase “women in technology” can refer to a wide range of job roles, opportunities and career paths. However women make up less than 20% of the technology workforce and recent research from PwC revealed that only 3% of female students would consider a career in technology as their first choice. At GBG we’re proud of our diversity across the globe within our technology teams.
Jennifer Davidson, Software Solution Architect based in our Liverpool office explains what it’s like working within technology at GBG and how it compares to her previous roles.
Having worked for GBG for nearly five years I’m often asked by recruiters ‘Are you happy in your current role?’
If you work in technology you’ll be familiar with people leaving the company they’re working for, often around this time, perhaps lured by a start-up company or with an urge to create their own start-up. For female technology staff, moving can often be down to lack of progress and growth, which is surprising when research has shown companies with more diversity and greater gender balance are more successful.
Flashback just over ten years and I was fresh out of university having completed a biomedical degree. It would have been very easy for me to continue down this career path. However, I hated lab work and I was bored by the course. Things changed in final year though when I was given the chance to create a computer program to mock lab experiments and generate results. It was during this time I found my passion for coding and I knew that I wanted to become a developer.
My first development role was with the NHS. Looking round on my first day I realised I was the only female member of staff in the whole technology department I was based, which had around 70 staff. I found the same trend with every new role; I was always the only female member of staff in the technology department. There was never any training or career progression and I often found myself at the bottom of the promotion pile compared to my male counterparts regardless of my achievements. As I was so determined to move up the ranks this often led to a lot of self-studying and looking for new roles every three years or so.
In 2014 the company I was working for, Transactis, was bought by GBG and with this I found myself in a new environment, with new opportunities.
GBG is different
Sat here today, the GBG Liverpool office has some very interesting statistics regarding its technology department which really show what type of company it is. Half of the office developer leads are female, half of the office architecture team are female, one third of the DBA team are female, one third of the infrastructure team are female and two fifths of the data processing team are female. In GBG we have department heads who are female and female board members.
I believe this comes down to a number of factors:
- Firstly, everyone is treated equally. There is no gender bias at all and there is no “old school” technology “boys club”! For me, to work in this environment is like a breath of fresh air.
- Secondly, development is encouraged. In September I made the switch from developer to solution architect. I was openly encouraged by my manager and other members of staff to apply for this role. During my first 1-2-1 in this role I was asked where do you want to be in five years? I gave the honest answer ‘I want to be a department head and one day be a CTO’, this was met with ‘Great news, let’s put a plan together to ensure you get the skills needed to achieve this’.
- Thirdly we have a great CTO and executive leadership team that are actively improving working environments, development programmes, work balance and a rewards scheme that makes you want to work for a company like GBG.
So when I’m asked by recruiters ‘Are you happy in your current role?’ I can honestly reply yes. I’m no longer the technology department token female staff member, rolled out during HR audits, but treated as an equal, in pay, reward and development.
I’d definitely encourage anyone who likes the sound of this work culture to follow GBG’s latest jobs adverts on LinkedIn.