International Women’s Day

Thought leaders gathered at CMS London yesterday to join an inspirational conversation with a panel of speakers from British Airways, Cisco, CMS, and Pret A Manger. Here are some of the key takeaways from the day!

Key Takeaways

  • Whilst there are measures to help hire diverse talent in the early careers space, the path becomes unclear when it comes to retaining female talent at mid-level management.
  • Many companies expressed that they would love to offer work experience to young people. However, they faced struggles with logistics, site safety, and finding individuals to ‘own’ the process.
  • It was felt that as a Returner to work, LinkedIn can seem terrifying. A supportive network with buddy-ups and advice from peers would be invaluable for these hires.
  • An apprentice on the panel encouraged young people to apply for companies who partake in CSR events. Therefore, showing that you care about the development of your employees helps attraction and retention. 

Kathryn Baddeley, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Cisco, kicked off the panellist discussions.

Increasing the Number of Women in Tech

With a decrease of 1% in female ICT professionals from 2018 to 2019, there is clearly a challenge with attracting and retaining women in tech. As a result, Cisco have partnered with universities to develop AI and data-driven innovation. This will predominantly target females with an A-Level in Maths, encouraging them to pursue a career in the AI revolution.

Through some of the discussions, we heard that apprentices are fighting against parents to get into the tech sector. The traditional careers of doctors, lawyers, dentists and accountants are still favoured. Certainly, companies have to work harder to sell the role so that students can then persuade parents.

Above: an infographic detailing the current gender representation in the tech landscape.

To assist Cisco with their challenge, we developed a Pathways Schools Programme. With insight days and work experience for Years 10 and above, the aim is to increase their participation, confidence, aspiration and understanding of the tech sector. Consequently, to increase the number of women within tech we need to educate parents, breakdown what a ‘traditional’ tech role looks like, and show that there are many different routes into the industry.

How Pret are Leading the Way

Next up, the Learning and Development Manager at Pret, Daksha Stancilas, discussed their Equal Apprenticeships strategy. Mapping out a clear career path from team member to management, they have attracted 59% female talent with their apprenticeship scheme. For instance, they have chosen to value qualities over qualifications and nurture talent through a 4 year programme. As a result, 96% of their management team consists of former team members from stores.

Changing Up the Path to Law

‘At the same time as wanting to make a career in law accessible to all, we wanted to create early talent pipelines rich in diversity.’ Özlem Avni, Talent Acquisition Manager at CMS, discussed how the entire landscape within early talent is changing. Therefore, organisations  are having to rethink programmes, plus how they engage, assess, select and connect with them.

Want to find out more about how to help female talent into pipelines? Drop us an email.

For every attendee, MyKindaFuture has contributed to Smart Works. Smart Works specialises in supporting women from disadvantaged backgrounds into work, including supplying interview dress and interview training.