13 Oct Embracing Tech, One Woman at a Time
The tech industry is said to be Singapore’s new ‘iron bowl’ with it already raking in hundreds of billions of dollars since 2014. Growth is only expected to accelerate in the next decade which means more jobs in this sector will be created. However, is our current workforce strong enough to support this booming industry?
It may seem like we are on track to realising our dream of becoming a Smart Nation. However, this cannot be done unless everyone pools in support for the tech industry; this means all men and women must come together and make things work.
Importance of women coming forward
Despite making up half of the global workforce, we are merely seeing 30 per cent of women working in tech-related fields. Even Tech Giants such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft who are known for their unique work culture is not attracting or employing enough women; only a third of their employees are women. The absence of women pursuing tech-related careers is a cause for concern as most industries will inevitably be revolutionized by tech in the near future.
Tech’s gender imbalance could mean that women might be missing out on many career opportunities. Women are missing out on tech revolution. What would the root cause for this problem be then, you may ask?
Shift in Education Is a Must
We may be seeing a 50:50 gender split in universities such as the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). However, women make up only 32 per cent at the NUS School of Computing while the percentage of women in the NTU 2015/2016 computer science programme totalled up to 27 per cent.
Before, there was a balance of scholarships and sponsorships for engineering, economics and the liberal arts when Singapore was developing its economy. However, since Singapore began its push for a Smart Nation, there have been a lot more focus on engineering and sciences.
The shift in education and training will help future millennials to be more involved in tech and minimize risks of them going into industries that may very well be automated with technology advancement.
Stepping Out, Taking Risks
Be it school or work, most of us might be guilty of taking the safe route. Thanks to this culture we grew up in, we became the generation that cannot afford to fail.
In an interview with the New York Times, Jean Bennington Sweeney, the Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for 3M said that women have to move away from the idea that they ‘have to be super smart to be in science and engineering. It’s not just for the best and the brightest.”
“Boys and men assume that if they are 30 to 40 per cent qualified, they will go for it. Girls and women feel they need to be 80 per cent qualified to attempt it. We have to get past the idea that you need to be exceptional, not just good,” she continued.
At the recent Cloud Expo Asia 2017 held in Singapore from 11 to 12 October, a panel discussion was held with seven women leaders in the tech industry. When asked about how else women could be empowered to speak up and get involved, Tiffany See, Vice President of the Human Resources, Global Talent Management from Dell EMC expressed that ‘senior leaders and key decision makers must create an inclusive work culture regardless of gender or race’.
Only by encouraging and sporting one another will there be advancements. We have much to work and improve on, but a little goes a long way- one woman at a time.
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