In celebration of International Women's Day we spoke with Yumi Sykes, HR/Office Manager at GlobalSign to see why diversity is so important within the workplace and what they're doing to encourage young women to work in the tech industry. 

Why is diversity within the workplace important?

Embracing diversity and valuing individual qualities and merits are common organisational values GlobalSign has across the group. We are very proud of having a diverse workforce, each of them are providing unique values to the growth of our organisation. In our London office specifically, out of 41 employees, 30% are British but the rest include Indian, French, American, Australian, Hungarian, Japanese, Irish, Nigerian, Polish, Romanian, Swedish and Spanish. We are proud of this diversity and everyone is treated equally.

What measures are GlobalSign implementing to ensure there is a diverse and inclusive workplace?

When it comes to recruitment, as long as they have the right to work in the UK, we do not pay attention to which nationality, race, etc. candidates are. We do look at technical skills and background but cultural fit is very important to us. We place importance on finding people who can embrace and appreciate diversity in the workforce and are willing to grow with us. In addition, this may sound obvious, but there is no pay gap or anything of that sort in our organisation, and everyone receives the same benefits, etc. We are a very flexible company and try to accommodate each employee’s situation as much as possible. For example, we are working with managers to make sure our staff can adjust their working hours flexibly as their caring responsibilities increased by Covid-19. We are also conducting employee self-care awareness month at the moment and we promote ways to maintain/improve well-being under this difficult situation.

The tech industry is known for being male dominated, has this been a challenge and what are you doing to combat this?

This is definitely a challenge for us. At the moment only 24% of our workforce in London (engineering centre) is female. We have been working with Synapri to find female candidates for technical positions and we have hired amazing female talents over the last couple of years, but we could do more to improve the gender balance of the team.

We are also interested in starting an apprenticeship/work placement scheme for students in the near future. Hopefully, this will help us to find female talent as well as male talent.

What are some of the benefits championing diversity has had across the GlobalSign business?

As I mentioned above, we have a diverse team in the business and a lot of us come from different backgrounds. This helps us to stay flexible and innovative, and it is especially important for us at the moment, as we are going through one of the biggest organisational transformations.

In addition, we are able to hire the right talent for us thanks to our values. If we limit ourselves to hiring people from a certain background, we can never be truly agile and innovative.

We are also even thinking of expanding the candidate search outside of the UK. Now that we have proved as an organisation that we can maintain the same productivity by working from home, this may open the door for us to find the best of the best talent, irrespective of where the candidates are residing.

In your opinion, what can be done to encourage more young women to enter the tech industry?

I think there are a couple of things we can do:

  1. As mentioned above, we are thinking of offering apprenticeship/work placements for students in the near future and I think that is definitely one of the ways to attract young female talent. Once they get a feel of what it’s like to work in the tech industry and if they receive enough support, I am sure it will encourage them to stay in the industry.
  2. I think we need to get more female tech leaders or managers to talk at symposiums, expos and other networking events. We had and will probably soon have a female tech lead in our London team and hopefully next year, we can utilise such opportunities to show female engineers that they can progress in their career despite the tech industry being dominated by men.
  3. There are also a lot of opportunities where women can learn coding for free. Promoting these tools to women will be key, as we want them to know that they can achieve both a home life and a career, as with engineering there are often remote opportunities unlike other jobs in retail, hospitality, etc.

Synapri provide specialist technology recrutiment solutions and are proactive in supporting initiatives that make for for a more diverse and inclusive workplace.