HeForShe – Michael Keegan of Fujitsu says men need to stop making excuses and join the gender debate

Michael KeeganAccording to Fujitsu’s Head of UK and Ireland, Michael Keegan, it is important for men to play a role in the gender debate because he “truly believes the success of a business is down to the diversity of its team.”

Speaking to WeAreTheCity he said: “It’s not down to the box ticking, but how to serve customer needs and diversity means that the greatest variety of needs are covered.

“If the team is not diverse then you are not serving the marketplace. A diverse team creates better discussion, better connections and better profitability.”

Keegan said more men need to make more of an effort to join in the conversation by attending meetings or joining internal networks: “Men need to stop making excuses for themselves and get on with it. Come forward and go to the meetings. I’ve always gone and I’ve never felt intimidated but I’ve always felt welcome. Men need to get on with it and enlighten themselves, because they’ll be able to understand more and to run better teams as a result of it.

“Companies should be asking themselves why there are no women on the shortlist, so they can work on improving this number. We had to intervene and get our hiring managers better trained as they were unconsciously interviewing more men than women.”

He drew attention to the different qualities that females bring to a team: “One of the most damaging things in business is the phenomenon of male ego – it’s a dangerous thing.

“Women are a beautiful counter balance to that. I’m not implying that all men are egotistical but sometimes they are more driven by ego instead of logic driven.”

Keegan said his support for female leaders is something that started from home: “I grew up in a single parent household, where my mother was the sole bread winner and had a successful career in journalism and finance helping other women. My role model was a bread winner in a big public role.

“In my career I’ve been lucky enough to work with female leaders and I’ve learnt a lot from being married to a successful lady, who is more successful than me.”

Education and role models

With the technology sector being made up of only 17% females Keegan said the more needs to be done within schools to encourage girls form an early age: “It is a European issue where the education system shoves girls into languages and boys into sciences. Fujitsu works with schools to encourage more women to take up careers in technology as it’s a great career choice.”

“It is a fast moving sector that is highly important to the economy. Tech touches every industry – we’re only ever going to need more tech. Tech workers tend to be higher skilled and higher paid.”

“We are lucky here at Fujitsu that we have great female role models and that half of our UK workforce work for a woman,” added Keegan.

“About a third of our apprentices are female, but we need to be better than a third and it’s a journey we’re on. We have woken up – there is a consensus that we need more women and that we are starting to see the results of why.”

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