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IWD 2021: BlackLine VP on empowering employees in a diverse workplace

05 Mar 2021

Comment from BlackLine regional vice president for A/NZ Claudia Pirko.

What does the IT industry need to do to attract more women in the years ahead? 

IT underpins everything in today’s society. It touches almost every aspect of our lives. To some, it can be perceived as solely focused on coding and robotics, but it’s so much more. 

There are several ways to attract more women. For instance, how we position the role of IT. For example, technology changes lives — so it’s coming from more of a solution standpoint. Solutions can be found in many fields, not just those focused on IT. 

Providing clear examples of how a multitude of skills from fields outside of IT can be leveraged within the field of IT opens new avenues in how we source, attract and recruit untapped talent. We also need to ensure that the workplace is equitable and inclusive. 

What do IT companies need to do to ensure that more women have the opportunity to achieve senior leadership roles within their organisations? 

Empowering employees in a diverse and equitable workplace is critical — where everyone truly feels they belong and can fully contribute. It is essential to cultivate talent to support career progression through sponsorships, development opportunities and mentorships. As part of this, companies should ensure there are both men and women sponsors who will use their voice, support initiatives and take action. 

What is the role of government in attracting more women into STEM-based qualifications? 

Continued collaborative action between the government, the tech industry and academia that addresses inequality in science education and promotes participation and employment is critical. 

Continuing to foster an interest in STEM career opportunities and integrating technology into all student curriculums will help to introduce young people to IT at an early age. Software, data, analytics, and infrastructure will continue to play an important role in all fields in the future. 

What can women do to support themselves and their peers to drive a more diverse and inclusive IT industry in Australia? 

It’s vital to engage great leaders and role models. This can be done through cultivating peer-to-peer mentorships, sponsorships and increasing exposure to have a real impact. 

Male allies are also an important part of actively supporting women in the workplace. Engage with organisations that focus on women in IT from an early age. Be a voice for other women to do the same, whether they are already in IT or have transferable skills. 

How do we get more women interested in tech?

One of the ways BlackLine is engaging more women in technology is by supporting educational opportunities to introduce, encourage and support young people early on. For example, we created an internship program to provide exposure for our technical and non-technical interns to career options in the tech space while bridging the gap between our interns’ skills and the skills of tech careers. We hope that the non-technical interns pivot into a tech future. 

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