Our student Abi Shelvin, who is on a placement year at ProspectSoft, is shedding light on women in technology; encouraging women to dive into a career in the technology industry. Read Abi’s blog below.
Find out how ProspectSoft and RateMyPlacement are encouraging female students to apply to technological-based roles, whilst overcoming the stigma and stereotypes associated with the technology industry.
The current, volatile technology environment is crying out for innovation. The root of the problem? A monocultured, homogenous workforce. The topic of businesses lacking diversity has been a talking point for years and even more so within technology. The wrongly portrayed ‘Tech Stereotype’, male, glasses, lack of social skills…is an ingrained image presenting itself from early school days, so no wonder women steer clear of these job roles. However, in reality, this is simply not the case. The movement towards hiring from a pool of differentiated people is a driving force of innovation due to greater ideas being generated, which is where the role of women is crucial.
MNCs are making a continual effort to focus on diversifying their workforce and implementing programmes that solely encourage women in tech roles. According to Women in Tech, successful examples include the BBC, whose workforce consists of 48.7% of females and are introducing a Women’s Career Development Programme for managerial roles; along with BT who, by 2020, are looking to fill 30% of its executive roles with women. On the contrary, there’s still a substantial amount to be done with regards to not only hiring women in tech roles, but also providing an environment in which they actually want to work in. This is where ProspectSoft and RateMyPlacement want to make an impact!
ProspectSoft is a UK-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and eCommerce Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company that are renowned for their excellent student placement scheme. Despite technology being a profound platform for ProspectSoft’s operations, the vast roles and opportunities offered delve into all aspects of business functions. So, having a role in tech does not mean you need to be an expert coder! Within each department, including software development, women play a vital role in daily operations. Finance, Marketing and Sales are run by an excellent team of females that go above and beyond with their contribution to the company. ProspectSoft have elongated their commitment by recently joining the Tech She Can Charter, founded by PwC, which predominantly addresses organisations’ commitment to increase the number of women in tech roles, in conjunction with inspiring young women to take on a tech career by improving education in schools.
RateMyPlacement is also at the forefront of disrupting hegemonic gender norms within the workplace. Acting as one of four arms of RMP Enterprise, RateMyPlacement works to educate and support young people on the breadth of career opportunities out there. Working across multiple industries with global firms, including the Top 100 Undergraduate Employers, RateMyPlacement is dedicated to helping students find valuable work experience within their field of interest. Armed with expert careers advice, downloadable resources and application guides, it is no wonder that RateMyPlacement.co.uk is the UK’s leading resource for students seeking paid placements, internships & insights.
As an SME, RMP Enterprise is dedicated to championing excellence and celebrating success across the business. Made up of a 55% female workforce with female directors leading their Commercial, Customer Success and Marketing departments, RMP Enterprise is committed to going beyond the lines of gender and recognising brilliance wherever it may be found. As a company, RMP Enterprise hopes that by celebrating positive female role models across every department that support wider digital operations, they will lead by example on what a truly diverse, collaborative and successful workforce looks like. After all, it’s not just about who is in the stereotypical ‘tech’ role, but also about the people supporting wider technological objectives.
Gaining a placement in a tech company or in a tech role can be an insightful starting point to open up a whole new career path, as the benefits deriving from such an opportunity can greatly impact job aspirations. From ProspectSoft’s perspective, one of the overruling benefits comes from the extensive training provided to placement students. The first month with the company consists of a great deal of preparation for each individual role, whilst collaboratively learning with all members in the office to gain a holistic understanding of every business function. A further benefit, setting ProspectSoft apart from the rest, is the amount of responsibility that each placement holds, so if you’re looking for a placement that involves making the cups of tea, this company isn’t for you! As previously mentioned, part of Tech She Can’s education efforts, aim to help students realise that tech is a factor of all careers in one way or another – not just in software development. At ProspectSoft, the Marketing role’s tasks include social media management, copywriting, writing customer success stories and using Adobe applications for design work and video content creation. These are just some examples of effective contributors to enhancing employment prospects for all placement students at the company, whilst giving the opportunity for students to return to ProspectSoft after graduation.
Many students primarily focus on applying to the largest, most recognisable companies; however, some of the benefits and opportunities addressed derive from ProspectSoft being an SME. Placements are given an equal opportunity throughout the business, as everyone is treated the same, regardless of what role or position they are in.
In an increasingly digital world, RMP Enterprise is also passionate about nurturing young talent and supporting students to develop their technological skills in the workplace. That’s why this year, they introduced a brand-new Digital Placement scheme, recruiting a placement student, Sophie Rogers, to directly support Digital Operations for RateMyPlacement.co.uk and RateMyApprenticeship.co.uk. This role involves creating/editing new job opportunities and employer profiles across their website channels, as well as spearheading email communication with registered site users. This role is in addition to their existing Marketing Placement Scheme. Marketing placement, Shoaib Ahmed, has developed his digital marketing skills through his responsibilities managing the RateMyPlacement social media channels, leading email communications with university event contacts, writing, and building and publishing bi-monthly newsletters to students and career advisors. Both the Digital and Marketing Placement schemes showcase what RMP Enterprise do best: supporting students in finding valuable and paid work experience in an increasingly competitive jobs market.
Employee Testimonial – ProspectSoft
Jessica Heald, previously done a Marketing placement at ProspectSoft and is now Head of Marketing, commented on the exciting progress that’s already been made at Tech She Can, and the challenges ProspectSoft are set to tackle head on; “Since joining the Tech She Can Charter in May this year, we’re astounded to see how much amazing progress is being made, particularly in schools, by Tech She Can. Before the charter’s lesson plans were piloted in schools, only 16% of the students could name a famous female in tech. This has risen to an incredible 61% since the lesson plans were implemented. Additionally, only 29% of the girls said they’d consider a career in tech before the lesson plans were introduced, but again, the lesson plans have evidently paid off, and this figure has soared to 47%. These stats just show how much of an impact the charter is making, but they’re not stopping now – they’re just getting started!
ProspectSoft now have the same number of women in senior management and director positions as we do men. You’ll see females in all functions of the business; from Software Development and Technical Support, right through to Marketing, Sales and Customer Success, and many of these women are undertaking a placement year on our award-winning programme. As a tech SME, we’re extremely proud of this – but it’s important that we inspire others to do the same. We hope that, through working closely on joint campaigns with our long-standing partner, RateMyPlacement, we can not only reach and encourage more female students to consider tech companies and tech roles for internships/placements, but also encourage more companies, big and small, to change the ratio.