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Dear 18-year-old me: It’s a woman’s world too

8/03/2017 by Nandip Aulak

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With International Women’s Day being all about celebrating the cultural, economic, political and social achievements of women, it highlights the issue of women in technology, which remains a contentious one.

Recent research from WISE, which campaigns for gender balance in science, technology and engineering, found that women only make up just 17 per cent of all IT professionals in the UK.

Montash Recruitment Consultant Sadiye Booker has shared her experience of starting out as a woman in technology recruitment and the advice she would have given herself as an 18-year-old.

Starting out

“Entering a professional, corporate environment straight from studying and working a few part-time jobs, it was a whole new world and, to be honest, it was daunting.

“On my first day at Montash, I remember walking into a sales environment where everyone was working hard, rushing around the office like there was no tomorrow and looking like the busiest people in the world!”

Closing the gender gap in IT  

“In recruitment, we have a fundamental responsibility towards closing the gender gap in technology. When reviewing a requirement, it's essential to consider both the technical and personal skills that fit.

“We create that pipeline, and it’s our responsibility to ensure we present a pipeline that is inclusive. It’s an industry where there are more men than women, that’s a fact, so I work hard to identify female talent and encourage women to go for roles that they might not otherwise go for.  

“Recruitment isn't just about being able to find good talent - it’s about offering a service, being consultative and going that extra mile for both the candidate and client.

“At the end of last year, I secured a woman a role with a global manufacturing client. During the process, she told me she needed flexible working hours and how stressful it was finding an au pair for her children.

“Over the Christmas break, I offered advice and support during her search, which resulted in her finding an au pair that both her and her children liked. After the Christmas period, I negotiated flexible working hours with the client, which enabled her to take her children to school in the morning and see them in the evening before they went to bed, providing her with a work-life balance she was happy with.”

Being a woman in technology

“As a recruitment consultant in the IT sector, I feel I am a woman in technology. Arguably the most important part of my role is being able to recognise talent within the market. In IT recruitment, we all have the same opportunity to find someone their dream job.

“For example, I have secured a 19-year-old a technical role that will enable him to grow as well as earn more than triple his previous salary. The best part of having done that was ultimately recognising his talent and helping him when he was not able to see his own potential.

“For me, one of the most rewarding aspects of my role is having the power to change someone's life. By developing the ability to actively recognise raw talent on the market, I can change people’s lives, as well as ensure my clients get the best skills available.”  

Gaining confidence

“Confidence is something many people need to actively work on; if you're not naturally confident, it's OK. From my own experience, I would say a good way of doing this is to recognise your strengths and use them to your advantage, and to recognise your weaknesses and accept them - it's all about personal growth and development.

“Essentially, if I were to give my 18-year-old-self career advice, it would be that confidence is something that comes with time, and that it's perfectly acceptable to ask questions - of both colleagues and clients - on anything you're unsure about.”  

 

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