Advice by BrightHR Head of Digital Experience, Anneka Burrett
An issue facing women in the tech industry today is the lack of good mentorship programmes.
This can be seen as a hindrance to their career growth. Although workplace conditions for women have come a long way, there’s still much progress to be made.
A women’s mentorship programme within a company can give all female employees the opportunity to offer or accept mentorship. This allows mentors to pass down the knowledge they’ve acquired over the years. It also allows mentees to learn new skills from women in leadership positions.
Issues facing women in tech
Women are still facing numerous problems in the workplace and most of all in the tech industry. Some of the issues women are currently facing include;
- Wage and gender inequality – The gender pay gap has always been a topic of interest and attempts are being made to close the gap. Tech is another male dominated sector and women working in IT positions report gender inequality at a higher rate. 43% of women working in the industry report that their male counterparts are paid more without reason.
- Work-life balance – Working mothers still go through the process of juggling their work and children because of a lack of flexible working options. 14 per cent of women working in tech report that there is a lack of a work and life balance.
- Gender bias – According to a 2017 survey, 90 per cent of women working in tech say that they have experienced gender bias at some point in their career. Some employers are guilty of judging their employees on the gender rather than their professional qualifications. Women often report of employees doubting their abilities to address and resolve technical issues. Some women are being asked about their marital or parental status at job interviews.
- Exclusion – Women are a big minority group in the tech industry. A survey by a charter dedicated to improving diversity in the tech industry found that only 17 per cent of tech workers in the UK are female.
Benefits of mentoring
There are countless advantages of mentoring, for the mentor, the mentee and for their employers.
- Benefits to Mentors – Mentoring gives you the opportunity to give back, share your experiences and skills. It can also help to energise your career if you’re feeling stuck or in a rut. Passing on your knowledge to someone at a lower level can help you to realise why you initially wanted to work in that role.
- Benefit to mentees – Mentoring increases self-confidence and personal satisfaction which can do wonders for your motivation and productivity. It also educates you on how to accept feedback. Receiving feedback on your communications, technical abilities or management skill can be hard should be taken on board.
- Benefits to businesses – Businesses that encourage mentoring shows other employees within the company that they are willing to invest in their staff. While it shows company value, it also promotes loyalty as employees feel more valued which in turn contributes to reducing retention. It also promotes cooperation between employees across all levels.
Approaches to mentoring
- Don’t be shy: In order to be noticed by potential mentors, you need to do something noteworthy. We should be confident enough in our abilities to speak up when we have something valuable to say. Or to ask to be on the best projects or the ones with growth opportunities.
- Constructive criticism: No one appreciates criticism, but if it can help you improve or learn new skills then it’s worth it. In order to make the most of mentoring, you should admit that there are things that you don’t know but wish to. Asking questions like ‘what can I improve on?’ show your eagerness for feedback improves your skills.