There is no doubt that the New Zealand technology sector is a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy, as a strong performing employer of over 114,450 people (source: NZ Statistics, 2019). However, in 2018 when MYOB released the MYOB Women in Tech report, only 23% of the tech sector’s employees were female. This is a sad statistic and shows we have a fair way to go to change this.
To truly understand what is getting in the way of equality in the sector we need to first understand what initiatives businesses are putting in place to enable the change. As an example, in early 2016, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Digital Economy Team began a series of workshops with industry and other agencies to brainstorm initiatives that could further stimulate New Zealand’s Digital Economy. One initiative put forward, that potentially would address the gender diversity issue and an understood digital tech skills shortage, was the concept of a “Returnships” programme to support women back into the digital technology workforce.
So, have you or your partner returned to the tech sector after a parental leave or a career break? Are you or do you know of someone who is currently in another industry but looking to return to tech? Does your organisation have a “return to work” programme (or is it considering putting one in place)?
This has been on TechWomen’s agenda for some time, and it is gaining momentum given how tech is polarising business in the current climate.
We at TechWomen have been considering how we can encourage and work with organisations to implement return to work programmes, as well as for women experienced in tech, who are looking to return to the workforce. Because we would love more representation and diversity in tech! So if you can share your experience and help us support that, we would be very grateful!