I was recently invited to the UpStarter Women in Tech event in Dublin’s Farrier & Draper. The Eventbrite information said that the event was ‘seeking to reduce the gender imbalance in technology companies by providing a platform for female job applicants to meet with these companies in a relaxed environment over food and drinks’.
Women interested in attending were advised to apply with a link to their LinkedIn profile. Upstarter say they screened over 1,400 applications and shortlisted 400 before selecting just 100 amazing candidates to attend. I popped along to meet some of these exceptional women along with their potential new employers.
Farrier & Draper is a beautiful venue and one that was completely new to me. Upstairs, the adjoining event rooms were full but not uncomfortably so. I expected to see lots of company stands, but this wasn’t a place for stands or banners, it was far more relaxed than that. Employers positioned themselves around the room at mostly unmarked tables, where they were simply available for potential candidates to approach. I spoke with many of the employers there and it was heartening to hear how they had come to address the gender imbalance in technology.
What the employers say
Joseph of Intercom told me they were seeking customer service support and engineers; roles which he promised were excellent stepping stones as Intercom provides training for internal career progression. Joseph said that Intercom definitely wants to employ more women, particularly as Customer Service Engineers, because prior to the event they had only one woman in that role.
JP Morgan representative, Rubens, told me they had recently moved into a new building in Dublin’s docklands with 500 employees and they want to grow even more in Ireland. While he happily reported that they have good overall diversity in their teams, and gender balance is observed at managerial level, they are seeking to employ more women in technology roles as they found that not enough women were coming through their pipelines.
Míchéal O’Maoldomhnaigh, a director at Software Placements, was also there to connect with attendees. Míchéal told me they were experiencing a lack of good IT candidates across the board (not just female) and found they were depending more and more on sourcing candidates from outside Ireland. When I asked how the housing crisis was affecting this, he said that it definitely made attracting talent more challenging, particularly to Dublin.
Other companies present included Arnotts and Brown Thomas, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Ammeon, Telnyx, and Autodesk. All had superb roles they were eager to fill.
What the female candidates say
I also chatted with some job candidates who had a diverse range of skills.
First I met Iman as she was about to enter the event. Iman told me she was seeking work in sales and marketing and while she has excellent experience in customer service, she is happy to wait for the perfect job. She agreed that there was a definite gender imbalance in tech, however coming to Upstarter and seeing more female candidates and the companies seeking to employ them, was encouraging and she felt inspired by simply being there.
I also spoke with a Fintech graduate who currently works in compliance and banking. She said the lack of stands made it difficult to tell who’s recruiting but she made great contacts which she hoped would help her move towards her desired area of data analytics.
Finally, I spoke with a recent BSc (Hons) graduate who found the atmosphere of the event to be extremely sociable, unlike other job fairs she attended. As a full-stack developer, she was looking for graduate opportunities in software engineering and development and was pleased to find those roles on offer at the event. She said that while more women are entering technology fields, she still noted an imbalance in the workplace as both teams she’d worked in were all-male until she joined them. She thinks we’re heading in the right direction, but change takes time. This is something she sees as a CoderDojo mentor, where she’s filled with hope for the future as most of her students are girls. She encouraged other women to consider careers in technology as that industry is one of the few places where you can build something new every day. She says the tech sector is so vast that it’s easy to pick up new skills and if you enjoy problem-solving, re-designing and being as creative as you possibly can, then a career in tech would prove extremely fulfilling.
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