“If a machine is now going to decide if you get that job interview or loan, you had better be sure that the people writing that algorithm are a diverse set of people, because if they aren’t, we are not creating a world that works for everyone.”
This was just one of many fascinating insights from our keynote speaker from our premier partner Costain, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE.
On Wednesday 12th February, 120 of our top female members looking to embark on a career in technology, engineering or consulting had the chance to hear from Jacqueline and a range of other inspiring female leaders, as well as network with eight top-tier firms committed to gender equality. On the day we were joined by Amazon, Capita, Dyson, ECS Digital, EY, GlaxoSmithKline, PwC and premier partner Costain Limited.
Jacqueline kicked off the day with an eye-opening speech about her experiences in the tech sector – attendees learnt that despite the huge amount of progress women have made in the journey towards equality, female representation within the sector is still shockingly low – 17% in STEM careers, 10% in cybersecurity and only 6% in engineering.
They also learnt that it is vital for the success of the industry that this changes – not only from a diversity and inclusion perspective but also from a business one; diverse teams make better business decisions 87% of the time when compared with non-diverse teams.
Next up - a panel session with six leading females from Costain, Amazon, Capita, Dyson, EY and PwC. When asked for what their top tip would be for our attendees, who are at the very beginning of their career, our panellists' advice included:
- The importance of developing resilience from early on - this will help you change your outlook on setbacks in your career so that you see it as an opportunity to learn and grow from rather than put you at a disadvantage.
- The usefulness of having an open mind, especially in today’s work market. We will likely no longer stay in one role or sector our whole lives - instead, we will need to reinvent ourselves between every five to ten years.
- Focusing too much on notions of what you should look like or how you should define success could be the very thing holding you back - another reason why an open mind is so crucial at the beginning of your career.
After leaving the keynote speech and panel session feeling inspired, our members were ready to meet and network with our partner firms. This was an invaluable opportunity for our attendees to meet representatives from the Graduate Recruitment teams at each employer, as well as our panellists and other senior female employees. Through this section of the event, members could build their network with valuable connections and get answers to questions they couldn’t simply find out from the companies’ website.
“This event was a truly valuable networking and skill-sharing opportunity for me. I also met so many inspiring and ambitious ladies that I look forward to keeping in contact with.”
The networking was followed by a skills session with the Director of Behavioural Management and the Capability Director of Consultancy at Costain Limited. During the session, members learnt some useful Cultural Behavioural Management tools that would enable them to change their behaviours and empower them to have the self-confidence to thrive through every step of the graduate application process.
Last but not least, members heard from Costain's alumni success story, Niku Nobakhti. Niku graduated from the University of Manchester in 2013 with a degree in Chemical Engineering, after which she joined Costain on their graduate programme. Since joining Costain, Niku has gone on to be awarded the Costain Graduate of the Year Award in 2015, the European Construction Institute's Young professional of the year award in 2017, and most recently been selected as one of the Northern Power Women's 2020 Future List. Her story left members feeling inspired about what they could go on to achieve when embarking on their graduate career journey.
We're delighted to say that 99% of attendees found the event brilliant or good and that 95% gained insights at the event that they could not find anywhere else. We can't wait to hear about all the amazing things our attendees go on to achieve in the future.
Enjoyed learning about Women in TEC?
Our next edition of Women in TEC will take place in September 2020 and applications are now open. Interested in attending? Click here to apply.