Diversity in the workplace is an enormous issue that large and small organizations alike are trying to tackle. For companies in the technology space, there has been a particularly large gap when it comes to promoting skilled and experienced women into senior roles. Even here at NetMotion, we know that we have a lot of work to do.
It’s been proven time and time again that greater diversity in age, race and gender amongst an organization’s C-suite (and its leadership in general) contributes directly to greater profitability. But to get there, more needs to be done to bridge systemic problems like the gender wage gap, as well as issues with maternity leave that discourage women from entering (or re-entering) the workforce, and create an artificial glass ceiling for long-term career goals.
Diversity in IT is sorely lacking
In an eye-opening article published earlier this year in CIO.com, author Christina Wood points to seven challenges facing women technologists who try to climb the career ladder. In part, she states:
“In most technology companies — and especially in leadership meetings at those companies — women are sparsely represented and women of color are rare. This is true in all industries, especially as you climb the ladder. A mere 28% of people in senior management roles are women and only 19% of the C-suite is female. But it’s much worse in IT, where only 26% of computer-science related jobs are held by women, compared to the overall job market, which is about half female.”
Likewise, A report from McKinsey “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters,” published in May 2020 speaks to the financial disadvantage that organizations put themselves in when they do not employ a diverse workforce. According to their research, companies with greater than 30 percent women executives were more likely to outperform similar companies with women making up between 10 to 30 percent of their executives. In turn, these companies were also more likely to outperform organizations with less than 10 percent female executive representation.
Fostering change in legal IT
In the legal sector, the message is similar. Dawn Dutton, senior project manager at Clyde & Co. understands how difficult it can be for women to rise through the ranks in important IT roles. During a recent interview, Dawn commented on the importance of finding allies and mentors within an organization.
“Historically, when I look back, it was very rare to see a woman as a fee earner or a partner. There weren’t a lot of female lawyers. Any industry or area where you have a lack of diversity, you’re going to lose out on different insights and a lot of different experience. And that’s going to lower the field.”
Despite occupying a sector where women are most likely to be under-represented, Dawn sees opportunities.
“I think legal IT is moving in the right direction. A law firm can bring in that support and training, combined with mentoring from the top, where you can say “I can be there” and aligning yourself with a good mentor. If you go into an organization with other successful women in IT, for example, and you can work with them and be mentored by them, that’s the way to go.”
… If you are more advanced in your own legal IT career, take some time to mentor them and give them the benefit of your knowledge, because it’ll come back tenfold.”Dawn Dutton, Senior Project Manager, Clyde & Co.
To hear more of Dawn’s comments on the importance of fostering diversity in the legal sector, check out her “Words of Wisdom” video here: