Advert Change Recruits More Women
As more and more businesses actively seek to encourage a diverse workforce, many sectors are still struggling to attract females into the workplace; and one such sector is IT.
With predominantly male workers occupying engineering and technical helpdesk jobs, it is often difficult to get equal numbers of employees from both sexes; however, one Welsh business is bucking the trend thanks to a change in its recruitment advertising.
Swansea based Pisys.net are market leaders in managed IT services and have multiple offices throughout the UK helping businesses of all sizes with their IT issues.
The offices on Princess Way are home to the company's project engineers, IT support staff and fast response engineers; roles which until recently, were all occupied by males.
Steve Bain, director of Pisys.net, explains, "We actively recruit for new staff from two main pools of candidates; local apprentices or by advertising for experienced engineers, however while we wanted an equal split of applicants, we only seemed to receive applications from male candidates and reading an article by Liv Garfield helped us identify why this may be the case."
In the article, the chief executive of Severn Trent pointed out that asking for specific sector experience reduces the number of women candidates for roles, which was a lightbulb moment for Mr Bain.
"After reading her article, we realised that our job adverts read as a series of "must have" IT skills which, in a sector that is male-dominated, reduced the number female candidates applying for roles, so we amended the job adverts accordingly."
The new job adverts focus on asking for skills gained from a variety of sectors and activities to attract a more diverse range of candidates, rather than just those specific to IT.
This approach allowed the IT firm to tap into a broader candidate pool and to bring on board staff who were the right "fit" that could then be trained up and moulded into thePisys.net way of working.
"We are confident in our internal staff development programme and encourage CPD (continual professional development) amongst all our staff," said Steve, "so for us, the right attitude is more important than technical skills in some roles as we can train new staff members and develop their skills on the job."
This new approach has already proved successful thanks to the appointment of the latest Fast Response Engineer, Caitlin Humble.
Caitlin recently joined the firm in response to an advert she saw online and is the first female IT engineer to join the team at the Swansea office.
"I originally trained for the Royal Air Force," said Caitlin, "but had always wanted a career in IT, especially after studying the subject at AS level. Until recently, I was working in a customer service role; however, when I saw the job advert and realised my lack of hands-on IT experience was not a barrier, I applied and got the job."
The fast response engineer role involves talking to customers over the phone to diagnose and remotely fix IT issues, so Caitlin's customer service background was a perfect fit.
"Caitlin will be shadowing more experienced staff members as she learns the job, and will be undertaking a number of IT training courses to increase her technical skill level," said director John Merrick, "however her existing customer service skillset is invaluable as she can seamlessly interact with customers to help with their IT problems."
Her appointment brings the percentage of females working at the Swansea office to 25%, and while the firm has more ambitious targets to get this figure closer to 50:50, it's a positive start.
"The IT industry is changing all the time from a technological point of view," said Steve Bain, "but hopefully, in some small way, our recruitment change may encourage more females to consider a future in IT."