Tuesday March 6, 2018
Vodafone’s innovative approach to boost women in technology
Vodafone is today launching a three pronged strategy to address worryingly low levels of representation of women in New Zealand technology companies.
Head of HR Centres of Expertise Katie Williams said Vodafone’s ambition is to be the best employer for women by 2025, with the lead up to International Women’s Day the perfect time to launch an audacious new plan.
“First, we want to create opportunities for girls to experience technology in the real world, by connecting them with mentors and training on our #CodeLikeAGirl programme. Late last year we took more than a dozen girls from high schools across Auckland, and in just four days taught them the coding to be able to build a website,” Katie said.
Vodafone’s Women in Technology New Zealand Lead Lynn Xu was one of those who worked with the girls.
“I really believe this experience can help in making future career choices. They all came out with fantastic work, and had visions and plans on how to improve on it – something us adults often don’t do well! I will never forget the sparks in their eyes,” Lynn said.
“Our hope is that #CodeLikeAGirl will hone that excitement, and open the doors to really considering a career in technology, which offers a range of well-paying roles,” Katie added.
Vodafone also runs a two-year Discover Graduate programme, which in 2018 has a current total of 78 graduates fresh out of university working at Vodafone, with the opportunity to rotate across teams so they learn important transferable skills.
“51% of our graduates in the programme are women and that’s a deliberate choice on our part. It allows us to lay substantial groundwork in fostering, encouraging and growing female leadership in our workplace,” Katie said.
While Vodafone has been recognised in the recent Human Resources Institute of New Zealand awards for Diversity and Inclusion, Human Resources Director Antony Welton said the company is now turning its attention to the retention and promotion of women in technology.
“We understand that as well as a rewarding career our teams need and deserve work-life balance. Our parental leave policy, which is also available for people who have taken a longer career break through our ReConnect programme, means you are paid for 40 hours a week while you work 30 for your first six months.
“Employers today need to get real about what it takes to ensure women can be at their best at work,” Antony said.
Vodafone is also amplifying the spotlight on the levels of women in leadership roles.
“We are on the journey, like so many other New Zealand companies, to achieve gender equality across our leadership levels.
“We have introduced software to remove bias from our job advertisements, implemented gender balanced shortlists across all of our roles, and “blinded” CVs, where the details, including gender of candidates is removed to mitigate the risk of unconscious bias in decision making .This is all in aid of Vodafone being a place where people can be at their best, be themselves and belong,” Antony said.
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