20 Mar 2023
by Jayelene O'Callaghan

Intentions are not enough – we need progress in telecoms now

Despite the longstanding acceptance that we need to go further and move quickly on boosting the gender diversity of our workforces, too little progress is being made. According to TechNation, only 19% of those in the tech workforce identify as women. What is even more alarming, is the United Nations just reported that it will take 300 years to realise global gender equality at the current rate of change.  

At Vorboss, it’s our mission to lead by example when it comes to our gender equality efforts. We work hard to ensure we have dedicated initiatives in place so that our female colleagues feel empowered, supported, heard and comfortable to thrive. 

The biggest lesson we’ve learned? It’s complicated. A lot of things work against you, and you have to really commit to making it work to see results.  

When we started our recruitment drive two years ago, we knew we had to build inclusion and diversity into our strategy from day one. When we started building our Installation team, we realised that a diverse talent pool wasn’t enough; we had to build viable career paths that were accessible to everyone. In the middle of a global pandemic, rather than giving up and making excuses, we launched The Vorboss Academy. We took talented people who hadn’t worked in tech before and trained them to be Installation Technicians. To date, we’ve trained over 150 technicians this way, and 40% of those are women. This type of proactive action makes a real impact.  

The diversity in our teams mean we are more efficient, effective, and resilient, but there are lots of organisations that don’t see things this way. 

Gender equality benefits everyone; that’s the critical piece that people often miss.  

One of the ways we ensure we are continuously helping our whole workforce is the way we source uniform and tools that fit everyone, even if that means getting them custom made. This might sound simple, but high quality, suitable female sized workwear is hard to find. We also offer period days, separate to sick days, where employees can work from home or rest with no questions asked. We proactively listen to feedback and act as soon as we possibly can. An example of this is our welfare vans that visit our teams in the field, ensuring they have a safe place to use the bathroom, take breaks and have access to everything you’d expect in an office environment. 

The hard truth of the matter is that companies often take the easy route rather than the most effective. The problem appears too large, too complicated and too ingrained. We have proven that if you step outside the norm and challenge the status quo you can find solutions that result in a happy, successful, diverse workforce. A workforce that gives you a competitive edge.  

There is a real opportunity here, for other leaders in the tech space to really take action to build the foundations of equality in tech. We’ve discussed the problem enough, it’s time for change. As a community we need to think deeply about our commitment to ensure it doesn’t take another 300 years to obtain gender quality. 

techUK is marching forward to close the tech gender gap in 2023. Throughout March, coinciding with International Women’s Day (IWD 2023) on 8 March, we are exploring how we embrace equitable workplaces. The UN’s theme for IWD 2023 focuses on Digital for All or DigitALL, and we are proud to support this.

For more information, please visit our Women in Tech hub.

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Jayelene O'Callaghan