Dominika Pacyna: In the early days of my career, gender diversity was often overlooked in IT. Jokes about women in engineering were common and diversity initiatives faced criticism. Since those days, we have made significant progresses in both the social and organizational aspects of the IT industry. It is now rare to find a company that does not prioritize gender diversity, as it is widely recognized as crucial for achieving business goals. This shift has been brought about by a combination of factors, including the realization that diverse companies perform better and achieve superior results, a scarcity of skilled candidates within the existing talent pool, social changes, and legal requirements in some countries that have made these efforts increasingly mainstream.
At the same time, there is untapped potential in Poland’s female workforce that the IT industry can benefit from. A 2022 Eurostat report revealed that 42.5% of employed women in Poland held managerial positions across various industries, the second-best result in the European Union. Considering this, we must question why women represent only 15.5% of the IT sector in Poland.
Dominika Pacyna: The increasing number of companies attracted to Krakow, in part due to its rich IT talent pool, highlights the importance of enabling these businesses to grow and recruit the specialists they need. However, tapping into the full potential of the city’s workforce requires broadening the pool of candidates by promoting gender diversity in the IT sector.
This is not only crucial for IT companies but also serves as a critical driver of economic growth and employment stability for the city. To maintain Krakow’s appeal to existing and future IT players, it is essential for the city council to invest in initiatives that attract more women to the field. By providing girls and young women with appropriate education and opportunities, we can empower them to join the IT sector early in their careers and help companies find the workforce they need to achieve their business goals.
Check out also: Krakow IT Market Report 2023
Dominika Pacyna: A recent „No Fluff Jobs” report revealed that fewer than 30% of women in the IT sector hold a technology-related university degree, with many acquiring their expertise through courses and self-learning. This highlights the importance of supporting such training initiatives to increase accessibility for those seeking to learn new skills or enter the IT industry.
Gartner indicates that despite efforts to attract more women to the IT sector, results remain unsatisfactory. Companies often target the same pool of candidates on social networks. To improve outcomes, more emphasis should be placed on recruiting managers with a track record of attracting female candidates and fostering diversity and inclusion in their teams.
To counter the claim that „no female candidates applied for the role,” hiring managers should actively engage in initiatives that attract more women to the IT sector. They need to ask themselves how they have approached the pool of potential candidates and how they can create a more inclusive environment. By building social connections, becoming a mentor, and supporting gender diversity movements, managers can more easily create diverse and successful teams. It is important for managers to understand that they themselves will benefit from these efforts, as the IT industry thrives with a wide range of skills and abilities contributed by diverse teams.
Lastly, fostering an inclusive workplace where employees can grow professionally while achieving personal goals and maintaining work-life balance is crucial. Recommendations from existing employees are invaluable for attracting candidates. By making concerted efforts to attract and retain female employees and ensuring an inclusive atmosphere in the workplace, companies may benefit from these employees bringing in their female peers.
Dominika Pacyna: While there is a positive trend in the number of women in IT and an increase in inclusion initiatives, it’s up to us in the industry to ensure the change is rapid enough to meet the sector’s needs and guarantee stable growth in Krakow. The growing popularity of these initiatives and small steps, such as requiring gender diversity among speakers at IT conferences, indicate that the situation will improve in the coming years. By actively engaging in these initiatives, we can accelerate the change and contribute to the stable growth of Krakow’s IT sector.
As parents, aunts, uncles, or siblings, we can make a significant impact by ensuring children do not grow up with biases about who can work in the IT sector. As a mother of a 10-year old girl, I have had many occasions to explain that she can play with cars and that girls are just as good at math as boys. These social biases are unfounded, and we can teach all children, regardless of their gender, that they can succeed in any industry they are passionate about. By taking small steps individually, we can collectively make significant progress towards a more diverse future.
Learn more about the tech ecosystem in Krakow and Poland by downloading the Krakow IT Market Report 2023.
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