One of the key takeaways from this year’s Women in Data conference was that, although the use of artificial intelligence and technology will infiltrate all industries and replace jobs, it will also in turn create jobs because the demand for the skills needed to stay on top of these fields will surge. So one potential problem faced with an even bigger problem.
Aside from AI and machine learning, the questions and themes that emerged from this, and consequently throughout the day were “where do women fit in?”, “how does diversity provide profitability?” and “how can women make their work noticed more in the workplace?”. This was addressed in the panel discussion, which consisted of Women in Data’s partners covering a range of sectors such as finance, e-commerce and retail.
Along with these big questions, they also focused on practical advice and career tips. Ways of leveraging and circumventing the self-promotion often required in a workplace. Something woman aren’t always as accustomed to.
So what is the point of all this and where does it fit in with the wider data and technology industry?
Ultimately, it comes down to productivity and profit. More and more research is demonstrating the financial benefits of diversity in the workplace. Diversity means more debate and more perspectives and so better decisions. You are also more likely to hire the best talent if you are not swayed by shallow gender biases.
When we look deeper at some more diverse companies, there is still a trend of women at lower levels; executives, analysts; but when looking at middle management and above, they do not seem to exist. Big tech companies such as Google, Intel, IBM and Pfizer, have at least tried to alleviate the stigma around women in C-suite levels – by actually hiring them. Intel, IBM and Pfizer have promised to invest $300m in women-led businesses over the next three years.
So, the question remains, when will the unsavoury stereotypes about woman, maths and coding finally disappear…. when will our markets recognise the truths about women, their skills and their talents… and when will these truths be reflected in the top jobs too.
Diana Akanho is insight manager at Mindshare