Vodafone launches initiative to improve diversity in tech sector

(L-R); Sinead Bryan, CFO Vodafone Ireland; Sarah Hamill (yellow) ; and Ciaran Kennedy (rugby jersey); at Vodafone Ireland. Pic: Naoise Culhane

Less than a fifth of women in Ireland consider careers in tech a good fit

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6 March 2020 | 0

Vodafone has called on technology leaders to make a pledge to increase diversity and equality in the sector with the launch of its new campaign, #ChangeTheFace.

Through the initiative, Vodafone aims to build a community of individuals and organisations who can be a force for positive change within the industry. Ericsson and Nokia are the first to join Vodafone in making pledges.

The initiative has been supported internally by a week-long programme of activity on diversity and inclusion at Vodafone Ireland HQ. Vodafone Ireland employees and their families took part in a series of talks, workshops and panel discussions which promoted equality for all and included a ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ education day with families – giving children the opportunity to learn about STEM using games and immersive learning.

 

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An international survey commissioned by Vodafone with 8,000 participants highlighted an industry-wide need for change. Women represent 21.5% of all workers in digital jobs in Ireland, yet just 18% of Irish women think jobs in tech are for them.

The research, which was conducted by Optimum, found that 26% of people in Ireland feel alienated by modern technology advertising, with women less likely than men to think that tech ads are aimed at them. When asked to describe technology as a person, most respondents said it would be young, white, middle-class and mostly male.

Vodafone also launched a revised version of the Future Jobs Finder tool and several initiatives designed to boost diversity and inclusion in its supply chain. The updated jobs finder aims to address the declining numbers of women entering technology roles and encourage broader audiences to explore careers in the sector.

The updates include:

  • A series of quick psychometric tests, which match an individual’s aptitudes and interests to specific job opportunities and relevant skills training for the digital economy.
  • Case studies of women succeeding in technology roles, who have not followed traditional scientific routes
  • Links between the skills acquired in non-technical background areas, such as Art subjects, to a range of tech careers

“#ChangeTheFace is our global commitment to improving our diversity and inclusion at Vodafone,” said James Magill, HR director, Vodafone Ireland. “We are urging the technology industry to act now so we can build a digital future that reflects society and works for everyone.”

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