ThoughtWorks is a global technology consultancy and a community of passionate, purpose-led individuals.
We deliver technology to address our clients’ toughest challenges, all while seeking to revolutionise the IT industry and create positive social change. Founded in 1989, ThoughtWorks has grown from a small group in Chicago to a company of more than 4000 people in 40 offices across 14 countries.
What makes ThoughtWorks such a special place to work?
In every ThoughtWorks office across six continents, ThoughtWorkers come to work to be ourselves. Wherever we are in the world, ThoughtWorkers share the same cultural characteristics and imperatives:
- We value honesty and transparency.
- ThoughtWorkers are committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment because we firmly believe that a wide range of experiences and backgrounds contribute positively to the quality of our work.
- Company recognitions are geared towards rewarding high-performing teams over heroic individual efforts.
- Appearances and backgrounds aren’t important to us; ideas and doing the right thing are.
How do you embrace Diversity at ThoughtWorks?
At ThoughtWorks we reject discrimination and inequality and promote diversity in all its forms. We proudly, passionately and actively strive to make both ThoughtWorks, and our industry more reflective and inclusive of the society that we serve. At ThoughtWorks we believe diversity breeds more productive teams but the definition of diversity is very complex. Diversity is not simply male or female, straight, gay or transgender. Diversity is also based on informational differences, reflecting a person’s education and experience, as well as on values or goals that can influence what one perceives to be the mission of something as small as a single meeting or as large as a whole company.
Do you have an internal women’s network at ThoughtWorks?
At ThoughtWorks, we actively seek ways to increase diversity.
ThoughtWorkers are about as diverse a group as you’ll find anywhere in the industry. Our people hail from countries around the world and represent a wide range of ethnic origins. They bring an array of distinct professional and life experiences to ThoughtWorks and view the world from a broad spectrum of ideological and philosophical perspectives. At any given time 20% of our people are working outside of their home country.
ThoughtWorks’ commitment to diversity is shown through its varied workforce, as well as through many supporting events and initiatives.
Recently, Thoughtworks has partnered with Makers Academy to launch the ThoughtWorks Women in Tech Scholarship programme to help women who are interested in a career in technology but unsure if they have the skills and ability to realise their dreams and ambition. Together, ThoughtWorks and Makers Academy put six women through a tailored programme to learn the skills needed to be successful in a career in technology with the potential of a position at ThoughtWorks at the end of the programme.
In our London office, we have been hosting monthly ThoughtWorks Women events, a space where women from all industries can share, inspire and connect communities, people and visions, stemming from the belief that together we can have a greater impact.
Equality and inclusivity for all is important to ThoughtWorks, another example of this is through our participation in Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, another step towards being a most inclusive and diverse workplace for everyone.
We are also a long time supporter of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and very proud to have been Gold sponsors of the first conference to be held in London last year.
Every year we support Ada Lovelace Day globally. Across the globe our local offices are hubs of activity and community building.
We support programmes on an ongoing basis which include Black Girls Code, Coder Dojo, Girl Geeks Dinner, Mums in Technology, CodeFirst Girls, Women Who Hack for Non-Profits, to name a few.
What can a potential candidate expect during the interviewing process?
We have a interactive recruitment process; we want to make sure that candidates meet as many people as possible during the interview process so that they are able to get a real flavour of us. Interviews at ThoughtWorks are designed to be informative. Every stage is intentional so that people know what ThoughtWorks is all about, and we know what the individual is all about. That’s the balance we’re looking for. Our pairing exercise is a real example of a project situation you’d find yourself in as dev lead pairing/mentoring with less experienced developing. We know you’ll come away having learned something and also having taught us something.
What do you look for in a potential candidate?
Aptitude, attitude and integrity have been the hallmark of our culture and selection process from the beginning. Our process aims to dig beyond the CV. We focus on finding people who are curious and intelligent more than ‘What’s on your resume? While other organizations choose degrees & institutions as their selection point, we believe these guiding principles of attitude, aptitude and integrity, allows us to bring together greater diversity of thought to solve the ever increasing challenges our clients face.
What benefits or reward programmes do you provide for employees (eg Maternity, Bonus schemes)?
ThoughtWorks offer 26 weeks fully paid maternity leave and 6 weeks paternity leave, 25 days holiday, a generous pension scheme, private healthcare, travel insurance, childcare vouchers.
One of the things that ThoughtWorks is doing differently is ThoughtWorks University. We invest time and resources to nurture and expand our employees’ business skill sets beyond the technical realm. All hires that join straight from university travel to India to participate in an intensive five-week training programme and are joined by other ThoughtWorkers from all over the world, discovering the values, practices and principles that have made us successful. It’s an intensive, hands-on experience and about learning.
Do you provide training for your staff?
We offer each ThoughtWorker the opportunity annually for individual training and development, including courses and programs to help overall business and career development. This could be used for books, conferences, training, professional qualifications. We also host a number of internal ThoughtWorks conferences and development courses.
Tell us a little about your values and how these are evidenced in working practice?
At ThoughtWorks, it’s our people that make us different. We’re talented, curious individuals, working best when charged with big challenges. With more than 20 years of thought leadership, we have been integral in the agile movement, more recently championing practices like continuous delivery and lean enterprise. We promote a collaborative, non-hierarchical and diverse working environment to encourage innovation, creativity and productivity.
At ThoughtWorks, we are strong believers in the power of software and technology as tools for social change. We run our business around a three-pillar model – striking a balance between running a sustainable business, providing technical excellence and advocating for social and economic justice. Whether we’re defending the free internet, teaching children how to code or helping to tackle global epidemics head on, we are always focused on making a positive impact on the world.
What is your approach to flexible working?
ThoughtWorks encourages a work life balance and recognises that on occasions it is more conducive for employees to work flexible hours and/or remotely, including working from home.
Are there any statistics that you are particularly proud off, eg number of women on your board, attrition rates, number of awards won?
Women hold the majority of positions–59.6%–at ThoughtWorks compared to the average 26.8%. Those numbers dropped with each level of seniority, down to 23.8% of women at the executive level. That’s still significantly better than an average of 14.1% of women at executive ranks. Less than one-third of technical positions are occupied by women at top tech companies, according to the latest numbers released by the Anita Borg Institute. But a handful are making strides toward change, and ThoughtWorks is proudly top among them. “I wish I was able to stand here and say we’ve solved the gender gap,” Rebecca Parsons, chief technical officer for ThoughtWorks. “Though things are much better than they were years ago, we know that’s not the case.”
In 2016, ThoughtWorks was named the top company for women in tech at the Grace Hopper Conference, the largest gathering of female technologists in the world. Among 60 tech companies surveyed for the Top Companies award by the Anita Borg Institute, the nonprofit behind the Grace Hopper Conference, ThoughtWorks had the most female representation in tech roles. In a speech accepting the award at the opening keynote at the Grace Hopper Conference Wednesday, ThoughtWorks CTO Rebecca Parsons said she sees this as proof that diversity and good business go hand-in-hand. “For over 20 years our missions driven organization has thrived on the unyielding belief that technology stands on the very epicenter of both business and social change,” she said. “Our continued growth has shown that idealism can harmonise with great technical work. Social good and profit, yes it’s possible. Now is not the time for us to rest on our laurels, let’s redouble our efforts as one community. We are not done, not by a long shot.”