The importance of Women in Tech

This year, Huxley Luxembourg is proud to sponsor the IT Ladies Night. On this occasion, IT One met with Alice Camblat (Senior IT Career Advisor, Huxley) to talk about employer branding and gender equality in Luxembourg.

Why has employer branding become so important and even more in Luxembourg?

Employer branding is a theme that we hear more and more nowadays. It is the process of promoting a company as the employer of choice to a desired target group. One which a company needs and wants to attract, recruit and retain. Getting the right talent in place to meet our needs has now become a board and C-level matter. In a country where we clearly miss talents in every sector, companies with a strong employer branding will attract more talents than companies which are not using it.

In my position of IT Recruitment consultant, there is the word "consultant" and one of my roles is to advise and make sure my clients care a minimum about their employer branding as it is becoming a key point when we are looking for talents nowadays.

According to me, there are 2 types of employer branding:

  1. The one that we can see from the outside (targeted group: attract & recruit)
  2. The one that employees can see from the inside (targeted group: retain)

Luxembourg is a tiny world and the people you want to attract and recruit will try to know as much as possible on your internal employer branding: "Are people happy in the company? Is the management good? Are the projects interesting? Is the atmosphere in the teams nice? Does my voice count?". Glassdoor is one of the first websites they will go to have a first look on it.

If I had to give only one advice on employer branding it would be, for big companies, to put a strong focus on their internal branding and the word of mouth will do the rest. And for little companies, to put a focus on their external employer branding as it will bring them more visibility on the market.

What about diversity and gender equality in Luxembourg? How can those aspects be improved?

I am going to talk about the IT sector in Luxembourg because this is the sector that I know the most and because I really care about this topic. I'm proud to speak on the behalf of the amazing women I have met. There are only a few women working in IT in Luxembourg, however I can feel that my clients really care about hiring more women in their teams.

To illustrate this answer, I decided to gather 3 different types of opinions:

  • 2 from a Senior Developer and a Senior Tester (females): what are your experiences as women working with IT men all day long? Do you think it could be an advantage to be a woman?

The first woman is from Romania and there, the percentage of women in IT is much higher than in Luxembourg. It's almost 50%-50%. So, the integration is done a lot earlier, starting at high school. She has not felt there is such a big gap of women in IT until she started to work abroad. Overall it's a pleasant experience, but there are times when stereotypes are starting to pop during a conversation. For example she was asked to work on web design tasks, because being a woman means she is more art / design oriented (which she is not).

The second woman started her career in France and 6 years ago she decided to move to work in Luxembourg. Her experience was not really the same than the first woman. She told me that IT was a closed world and working with men can be tough. Words like “you are a woman and you will never have a career in IT like a man” or “the colleague sitting in front of you today is really lucky” (because she put a top with a low neckline, which led her not to know how to be feminine at work.) However, in Luxembourg, she really felt that there has been a good evolution but it is necessary to continue to let young females know about IT and also to market it.

They both told me that we are still far away from considering that being a woman is an advantage in IT. If you have a strong personality and a good sense of humor, it's fun. But, in order to have a strong IT career, you have to fight a bit more.

  • One from an IT Manager female: as a woman, what are your challenges to lead men?

This woman has an impressive career in IT, where she started as a programmer in Ukrania and she then had the opportunity to be promoted Manager of a 16-people team. She arrived in Luxembourg 5 years ago and she is working for a worldwide leading company. She chose IT because the field is always changing, there are always things to learn, to renew or build new products. This is what she always liked. Also she likes to work with men because they are constructive and easy to work. What is incredible is that within her team there were 12 tech women and only 4 tech men. Something we never saw in Luxembourg.

  • One from an IT Manager male: what are the advantages of having women in IT teams?

In his 9-year career (mostly in France and in Luxembourg), he worked with a total of 8 women (a bit more if we consider the products teams). According to him, women are really attached to details, they have an excellent work culture and strong communication skills with their clients. Most of the time they also are really picky with the deadlines and will do everything to respect them. Having only one woman in a team can radically change the global atmosphere in a team. It will change the way men communicate on the floor, in the coffee room or in the meetings. When he recruits women, he has a real concern about wage disparity (he is one of my clients and I experienced it) and really wants women in his team having the same opportunities of the men of this team.

Can you share with us some of your best practices to promote gender equality?

Working within a British sales company could also be a challenge as a woman as there is mostly men. But to be honest, I never felt a difference being a woman @ Huxley. My colleagues and managers have always been respectful to the women working in the office (something I am really strict on). Moreover, we are promoted and driven with meritocracy that is to say that we have to achieve specific results to be promoted and our Group (SThree) is strict on the salary grid.

We also have different types of programs dedicated to Diversity & Inclusion and ‘Identity’ is one of it. SThree created this program in 2011, which is our own diversity and Inclusion program, with the objective of providing a strategic approach to managing diversity within the Company and increasing the awareness of gender equality.

Identity began as a program focused on empowering women within the company and creating an environment in which they are supported to succeed. We have done this by providing tools and information, developing a support network, highlighting successful role models and holding forums to share ideas. This has enabled us to support women in the community, for example working with female students to raise career aspirations, and engage with our clients and candidates on gender diversity. Identity has given us an opportunity to improve diversity and inclusion for all employees.

Source: Women and IT, the perfect match? (IT One)

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