In the UK, women account for just 19 per cent of workers in the tech sector, so how have opportunities changed over the years, and what career opportunities does this fast-changing sector offer women today? Below, some of Telefónica Tech's employees in the UK and Island of Ireland discuss their own route into the tech sector, and share advice on how to succeed within a sector that is still male dominated.
Women in Tech Video - Employee Experiences
Watch this short video for an overview of our female employees own experiences of working in the tech industry. (Approx. 3-minute watch time)
Women in Tech - Employee Views
Tracy Stanning, Head of Alliances and Partnerships: "Technology at the time of leaving college was not something I planned to go into. I knew I wanted to go into sales but not necessarily technology, so I was fortunate my career took me in the direction it did. The opportunity that technology provides today is absolutely vast. Whether you are interested in technical or sales, the opportunities are there. My advice would be to keep an open mind. You also need to be resilient, and more importantly, just be yourself. Find your focus and make sure you project confidence in everything that you do."
Gill McAlpine, Service Delivery Manager: "I secured a role with a government organisation back in the 80s. At the time, they were frontrunners in championing diversity. I turned up on my first day and I was the only girl. And I felt really proud to have been selected, but the raw truth was, I was the only girl that applied! Now, there are lots more opportunities for women and many different roles in technology. Yet sadly, there's only about 1/3 of women that sit in technical roles, so I think we need to continually push - there's still a way to go."
Sophie Kelly, Information Security Analyst: "Coming from a very non-technical background I did worry I would feel a bit out of my depth. But at no point has that been the case. There's always something you can offer, particularly if you have come from a different background. When I joined the Cyber Security Academy it was a very intensive 12-week training course and there were lots of technical qualifications. But there was also a requirement for lots of softer skills, such as presenting and brainstorming. Interestingly, the Academy was quite evenly split between men and women."
Jocelyn Fitter, Service Delivery Manager: "For me it's important to get a real diversity in role models. We should be able to see leaders in technology come from all kinds of backgrounds and be all kinds of people. This increases the chances of somebody recognising themselves and seeing their own potential in the future. It also challenges the perceptions of recruiters who choose the leaders of tomorrow; we still have preconceived images of what a leader looks like."
Sarah Broughton, Information Security Specialist: "I had no idea that I would end up working in technology, but I'm very grateful I did. It was a male dominated industry back in 2000. But I've slowly seen things change over the years. For example, in my current role I'm part of a team where two thirds of our UK employees are women. I was worried taking time off to have a child would affect my career path, but my career is continuing to develop; I'm lucky to work for a company that gives me the right balance to work hard at the same time as raising a family."
Kate Pollard, Team Leader, Compliance: "I have definitely been treated differently on the basis of gender, but don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it. And if they do, use it as fuel to prove them wrong! It is so satisfying. And don't get in your own way. I think women are a bit more guilty of this than men, telling ourselves we are not talented enough, or not clever enough. Believe in yourself, work hard, and try to be your own cheerleader."
Natalie Sullivan, Information Security Specialist: "The tech industry is still a very male dominated space but as women we need not to be afraid to take our rightful seat at the table. Have the confidence to take risks early on in your career. Take opportunities even if you feel you're not ready - because nothing great will ever come from your comfort zone. At school I didn’t know my times tables but my master’s degree specialises in post quantum cryptography. Make a commitment to yourself to learn and grow as much as you can ."
If you are looking for a career in technology, join our creative and collaborative company that puts our customers at the heart of everything we do. Be challenged, rewarded, and excited every day with the support to develop and grow.