Women in IT – the industry’s need for diversity

21 12
2022

Women in IT – the industry’s need for diversity

group-767 Author: ITDS

The IT talent pool in Poland is constantly growing, however at the current rate it will not be able to meet the market’s needs in the near future. This state of affairs could be changed by increasing the number of women in the industry. Currently they constitute only a small share of all IT workers – this is especially apparent in programming-related specialisations. The ITDS Poland experts estimate that the number of women present in the IT area will increase. As a result, not only will the staff shortages be decreased, but also the companies and teams will become more diversified.

Despite numerous projects supporting women in IT, such as “IT for SHE”, “Her Way To IT”, “Dare IT” or “Woman Update”, their number in this sector is still insignificant – and not just in Poland. According to the GWI data for 1H2022, only 18% of all programmers in Poland are women. A similar situation can be observed in many other European countries. In Austria, France, or Germany, women constitute merely 10% of all programmers, and in the Czech Republic – only 5%. The indisputable European leader in this regard is Switzerland, where women’s contribution in the IT sector amounts to 43%.

“The age-old myth of technical specialities being more suitable for men can discourage women from advancing their careers in that direction. However, we have been noticing a positive change in this regard and it is clear that more and more women are considering a career in IT. Everything points to an increase of the share of women in this industry”, says Charles-Alexandre Gamba, CEO at ITDS Poland. “We know first-hand that diversified teams can be the most efficient ones. Looking at this issue from an alternative, fresh perspective, differences in characters, personalities and experiences have a positive impact on the quality and rate of solution-finding”, adds Charles-Alexandre Gamba.

IT specialists, rarely programmers

Most women in the Polish IT sector work as testers (18.6%) and project managers (16%) – according to the “Women in IT 2022” report by No Fluff Jobs. However, the choice of specialisation does not depend on the gender, but on one’s own predispositions and competencies.

“Over the last few years many women decided to switch careers to focus on the IT sector, as it offers a wide range of specialities. Women are determined to obtain technical skills that will help them continue developing and building their career in IT. The number of women attending technical universities is on the rise as well, and Polish women stand out in Europe in this regard. It is a clear sign that the number of women IT specialists in Poland might soon increase significantly”, says Katarzyna Stachowiak, COO in ITDS Poland.

Diversity – a driving force in the IT industry

According to the 2020 report by McKinsey’s & Company entitled “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters”, the business case for gender diversity in the workplace remains strong and the link between diversity in leadership and the likelihood of obtaining better financial results becomes more and more solid with time.

Apart from the improved financial results, diversity among employees in an organisation brings other numerous benefits; for instance, it drives innovation and often guarantees greater creativity[1]. According to numerous studies, women are more emphatic than men and show greater social awareness, which might help the team members understand one another better. Multitasking is also a female domain, it allows women to do well with managing complex projects. Therefore, women might be unique assets in IT teams. But first, they need to beat stereotypes that became more widespread over the years, the ones saying that they may not be a good match for the IT industry and technical specialities.

IT is not just for men – Polish women are breaking stereotypes

According to the UNESCO report concerning education of girls and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, female students make up only 35% of all students in fields of study related with the STEM sciences at the higher level of education worldwide.

However, it turns out that an increasing number of women in Poland enrol for studies at science faculties. As shown in the reports published by the European Committee, as many as 66% of higher education graduates in Poland are women, which is the highest rate in the UE (the UE average is 57%), whereas Polish women hold a second place in terms of the number of graduates in the scientific fields. However, the choice of the career path is a complicated process influenced by numerous factors at different stages of life, and there are numerous reasons for a continuously insignificant share of women in the IT sector. Personal preferences, the opinion of one’s loved ones, the possibility to balance work and family responsibilities or unawareness of the options at one’s disposal, as well as their overwhelming number – all of this greatly influences the choice of the career direction.

“The IT industry needs women. At ITDS we believe that diversity at the workplace is of key importance and that ensuring a just representation of women can bring positive results to the entire organisation. That is why we are so committed to the topic of increasing the number of women interested in the IT sector. We try to attract women’s talents and that is the reason why we engage in events and initiatives dedicated to women in IT, such as Women in Tech Summit, in which we participate each year. Contrary to the widespread stereotypes, the IT industry is a great place for women. I learnt that first-hand and surely other women in our company would also agree with me. They constitute not only the majority of ourManagement Team, but also a significant part of the total number of our IT Consultants. We expect this trend to continue”, says Katarzyna Stachowiak.

IT from a female perspective

Gender is irrelevant in IT, say ITDS Poland Consultants, Anastasiya Pliaskach, Agata Kołtun and Marta Hnatowska. What drew them to the IT industry?

“My previous job inspired me to start computer science studies. I used to work in the media, my tasks involved buying airtime for adverts on TV and a large part of my job consisted of very repetitive tasks in excel. I knew that there had to be a way to do all of these things automatically and not manually. I was driven by the desire to automatise everything that otherwise would be a waste of my time. The possibility to streamline and improve processes leads to the development of IT system”, says Marta Hnatowska, who works as a Business Process Developer for ITDS’s client in the financial industry. “Apart from the possibility to grow continuously, which results from the technological development, the IT sector offers extraordinary flexibility. For example, it involves the possibility to work remotely full time, and also offers a wide range of specialisations and projects where everyone can find something they like”, comments Anastasiya Pliaskach, System Business Analyst, who works for ITDS’s client in the banking sector.

Is it easy for women to feel comfortable in an environment mainly dominated by men? “From what I’ve observed, more and more women decide to work in IT, but there still aren’t many of us. My male co-workers in one of the teams I worked had never had the opportunity to work with a woman before. I think it is as easy for women to enter the IT world and develop their careers in that sector as it is for men. What should be important in a normal, healthy environment is whether we fit in with the team and the presented tasks, which is something unrelated to gender”, says Agata Kołtun, Software Developer in a company providing analyses and technological solutions for the medical industry. “I think it’s hight time we put an end to the belief that only men can code. The fact is that there are indeed more men than women in this industry, but they are happy to lend a hand and are open to share their knowledge with women, which is something I’ve experienced myself”, sums up Marta Hnatowska.

 

ITDS has been the leader in the Polish IT market since 2016 and is among the 1,000 fastest-growing companies in Europe, according to the Financial Times. The company specialises in the financial, fintech, eCommerce and healthcare sectors and provides its clients with simple and effective solutions in Outsourcing of IT Engineers, software integration and IT product development, by working on web and mobile platforms in various technologies. Its portfolio includes over 30 renowned brands, including Top500 Fortune companies. ITDS employs 400+ specialists and IT Engineers in Poland and a total of 600+ more in its offices in Netherlands and Portugal.

[1] T. Chamorro-Premuzic, Does Diversity Actually Increase Creativity?, link: https://hbr.org/2017/06/does-diversity-actually-increase-creativity