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The tech sector needs to offer more part-time roles to help address gender-diversity

Lisa Wood at Naimuri shares her experience and explains why part time and flexible hours are a big deal if the industry wants to address the lack of women training and the lack of women staying long term in traditional tech roles

Did you know that only 19 per cent of the tech workforce is made up of women?

As part of that select group – and it’s even lower for women from a BAME background – I thought I’d share my own experiences.

I work in a communications and marketing role in a growing software development and data analytics firm in Manchester called Naimuri.

I consider myself fortunate to work for a company with an amazing culture and which offers part-time and flexible working arrangements that allow me to have a fulfilling career and a productive family/personal life.

But the reality is that while the fight for talent is at an all-time high. the lack of flexibility when it comes to part-time roles in the tech sector has never been starker.

In my case I found myself made redundant in May 2020, when lockdown was in full swing.

Heavily pregnant, I was daunted by having to look for a job again and wondered what lay ahead.

I took some time out to enjoy time with my new baby and family and revisited the job market a year later to explore what options were out there. The answer was not very much.

Far too often having kids has a huge impact on women and their careers however it was only last year I truly appreciated how difficult it was.

For me, having two young children and not living close to any family, I made the decision (with the support of my husband) to work three days a week, so I could strike a balance between work and family.

Given the huge skills shortages in the technology industry and the gender diversity issues across the sector, I thought I would be able to find a role –  but how wrong was I?

I lost count of the number of difficult conversations I had because I couldn’t work five days a week.

In my case I got lucky by stumbling across Naimuri.

If I’m honest I’d never heard of Naimuri before but I immediately loved the way they described what they did, their vision and their values and, even more perfectly, they were advertising for a part-time marketing and communications role!

It’s been perfect for me but I would like to see more employers make commitments to lasting change and evaluate their business models and explore what they can offer to females working in or looking to get back into the workforce.

Tech Returners are doing a great job of supporting women back into the industry and the Digital Her scheme are working to inspire future generations of females to pursue a career in tech, but but the number of flexible and part-time opportunities within tech businesses are still lacking.

It is widely documented that childcare is extremely expensive in the UK, so to support women returning to the workplace or retraining after kids, more needs to be done by employers to create a culture where their female talent can shine, but also, not feel frazzled by the daily demands and juggles of trying to ‘have it all’.

As well as offering flexibility around working days and hours, social events, team meetings and workplace activities need to be considered, to ensure employers are not segmenting some of their employees, who have commitments they can’t change.

Despite the discussions over the last few years about how the working world has adapted, there is still a need to educate more employers about taking on someone on a part-time basis and the immense value they can add to a business and a huge culture shift in the workplace has to happen.

Research continually shows that the more richly diverse and inclusive a workforce is, the more talent thrive, feel valued and create good work.

On Sunday we saw the Lionesses win the Euro 2022 trophy at Wembley and their inspirational manager Sarina Wiegnan said their success had helped ‘change society’.

I hope we see a similar change in the tech sector and create a fairer representation for all going forward.

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