Happy International Women’s Day!

It is on this day that we should reflect on the contribution of women in all walks of life – whether that’s as partner, parent, colleague or friend. However a point of discussing every International Women’s Day is gender diversity particularly in the technology sector.

Tackling gender diversity is a significant issue for all organisations in the technology sector. Generally there is still a lot of work to be done to increase the number of girls following STEM careers, which consequently impacts the number of female candidates. Some larger organisations are aggressively targeting female IT graduates and young professionals in order to meet gender equality targets and achieve the benefits from having a more gender balanced workforce. (Sodexho CEO, Michel Landel quoted research in McKinsey Quarterly that “teams with a male–female ratio between 40 and 60 percent produce results that are more sustained and predictable than those of unbalanced teams.”)

So what does this mean for SMEs like HSD that also want to obtain the benefits of gender diversity.

Make Gender Diversity an explicit aim

If you want to make gender diversity an aim, don’t hide it. Make it clear internally and externally to your organisation. This does not mean that you won’t choose the best candidate due to consideration of their gender. What it means is that you will make an effort to get candidates of all genders when filling a role.

Be flexible and family friendly

Whilst an “All Roles Flex” policy may be feasible for large organisations, unfortunately in a service organisation such as HSD it is not possible. However HSD is as flexible as possible and considers the individual needs of each employee. In addition, HSD’s head office is located in the leafy eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Whilst well serviced by public transport with Nunawading station and buses nearby, its quick access to the Eastern Freeway and Eastlink make it a family friendly location for staff residing east of the Melbourne CBD.

Practice true equality

Every employee of your organisation should be treated equally regardless of gender, race, creed etc. This should be automatic. In fact if you have to explicitly think about doing this, then there is probably a deeper issue in your organisation or its culture.

So how are we doing on gender equality? We have improved but we have a long way to go. When I first started at HSD 6 years ago, we were about 14% women that has improved to 27% organisation wide. Our executive had no women and is now 25%. Our management team is 29% women.

It can be difficult to achieve gender equality, but we are achieving it in our graduate and intern intake which has been 50% since its commencement in 2016. At HSD we believe our best opportunity to get the benefits of gender diversity is to attack it at both ends – ensure women are represented in management ranks and ensuring that graduate and intern intakes are balanced. This also provides a pathway for women in the organisation and allows for effective mentoring for new employees.

HSD are proud to support gender diversity and celebrate the contributions that women have made to our organisation.