“As business leaders, we have a responsibility to stand up to discrimination and make equality part of the fabric of our companies. We are better people, companies and communities when we commit to equal opportunity, equal education and equal rights.” Marc Benioff, Chairman & CEO, Salesforce
Values of diversity are set out from the very top of the Salesforce ecosystem leaving no excuses for inclusivity to be ignored. Yet, still in the UK today, men in high-tech companies earn 25% more than women, compared to the gap in the UK overall of 18%. 75% of the industry is represented by men, and the ratio balances out in lower-level roles implying that women are unethically being hindered in professional progression.
“As a black woman in tech, I’d love to see more organisations not only talk about equality but ensure their team is well diversified. It is a challenge and I’m hoping more will be done in the industry to support not only equality but diversity.” Yetunde, Senior Consultant at Atlantic Technologies
The start of March marked International Women’s Day, themed #EachForEqual stating ‘an equal world is an enabled world.’ We could not agree more. When the Salesforce economy is predicted to create 4.2 million jobs globally between 2019-2024, we hope to see a large increase in women and other minority groups, creating a more equal and enabled workplace. What is more, as Atlantic Technologies continues to grow and thrive, we aim to be a big part of this change.
Women’s History Month has come to an end, but the discussion has only just begun. Let us look at how the Salesforce ecosystem and the wider tech community are working to change the ratio in STEM.
The History of Women in Computing
Historically, women dominated the IT industry. The world’s first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace, born in 1815, was female. Women contributed substantially to the computer programming industry in the early 20th century. Computer programming was predominantly executed by women up to World War II, famous examples include Harvard Computers, code breaking at Bletchley Park and engineering at NASA.
A lot has changed since the end of World War II. Marc Benioff realised this much and has since been working to create change; “In 2012 I’d begun to notice, with horror, that when I called a meeting, the number of women in the room was often close to zero. I soon discovered that less than 29 percent of Salesforce’s total employees were women, and they made up only 14 per cent at the leadership level. To make sure talented female employees were being considered for leadership roles, I’d announced that going forward, at least 30 percent of the participants at any meeting, from a large management session to a small product review, should be women.”
What does the job market look like for women in the Cloud?
Cloud consulting looks to be one of the strongest job markets in the whole of tech. Gartner predicts that 83% of businesses will be in the cloud by the end of 2020, with a global market value of $331.2 billion by 2022. Cloud-related jobs increased by 55% per million on Indeed.com between 2015-2019 as the market value increases.
Are enough of these jobs accessible to women? “Yes -but there need to be more. Women are, unfortunately, still underrepresented in tech, which is an issue that needs to be addressed at both Atlantic Technologies and in the industry as a whole,” says Helena, Atlantic Technologies first UK employee. “However, I am encouraged by the fact that one of Salesforce’s core company values is equality and that it actively strives to close the gender gap in a transparent manner. I am pleased that we are following this example at Atlantic Technologies and have been placing a large focus on trying to create an inclusive and gender-balanced environment in recent months.” she goes on to say.
“I agree, I do think there are more opportunities for women in tech and more women are paving the way for younger women, sharing their stories, challenges and forming a supportive community that encourages women to take the lead,” adds Yetunde, Senior Consultant at Atlantic Technologies. “I also know more needs to be done. We cannot deny the industry is still male-dominated with equality and diversity still catching up in a lot of organisations. As a black woman in tech, I would love to see more organisations not only talk about equality but ensure their team is well diversified. It is a challenge and I am hoping more will be done in the industry to support not only equality but diversity.”
It is clear that job roles exist, so why is it that workplaces remain relatively un-diverse and underrepresented by women?
Changing the Ratio, Safe spaces and women we admire
You only have to follow Marc Benioff on twitter to see that Salesforce is a vocal champion of diversity and inclusion. In 2015, an internal company audit showed a $6million pay gap between men and women. They have since spent over $10million ensuring that all minority groups are treated equally. Salesforce has also seen that diverse viewpoints are represented in the boardroom. What is more, Salesforce supports a number of diversity networks, including Outforce who organise many of America’s PRIDE marches.
“Still – more needs to be done,” Yetunde reminds us. “We have established an imbalance exists and to solve the problem, we need to have organisations recognising the need for programs or processes geared towards closing the gender gap. We simply cannot ignore what we know and whilst we have seen a spike in women taking roles in tech, we need to continually encourage organisations to do more to support women.”
Women shaping Salesforce
In 2019, Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia joined Salesforce as the Chief Executive Officer, UK and Ireland. With previous experience as CEO for Virgin Money, Jayne-Anne came on board to navigate Salesforce UKI through its next phase of growth. With previous experience as a founder member of the UK Government’s ‘Business Diversity and Inclusion Group’, Jayne-Anne embodies the values needed to take the helm and steer the Salesforce ecosystem into inclusive waters.
Heather Black has been a member of the Salesforce family since 2012 and feels as though the agility of the job role is extremely well suited to mothers. In 2016 she started Supermums – a network to enable parents to work remotely; “By harnessing the power of the Salesforce ecosystem we can provide flexible well-paid career opportunities to those who are under- or unemployed.” Supermums has since welcomed 115 mums, and a couple of dads, to the Salesforce community.
Female-focused resources and events
Salesforce organises digital and physical Women in Tech events across the globe.
- The Atlantic Technologies team recommends Women in Tech Trailblazer Community Group, which is “a great forum to discuss working in this sphere and to hear about upcoming, often female-focused tech events.” according to Helena
- Outside Salesforce ‘Rad Women’ is a community geared towards “taking on the gender gap one line of code at a time
- Ladies Be Architect is an independent group “building confidence for all aspiring Salesforce Architects
How can we support the increase of inclusivity in tech?
If awareness of the issue is the first step, self-awareness comes next. Next week, Atlantic Technologies UK will share an open conversation surrounding our internal company culture, our active efforts, and highlighting what we must do more of in our own work environment. In the meantime, companies must embody the four core pillars of equality set out by Salesforce Chief Equality Officer, Tony Prophet:
- Equal rights
- Equal pay
- Equal education
- Equal opportunity
When an open forum is created, we are forced to listen, to think, to respond and to act. Now is the time to reset the stage.
For those of you who are looking for a job in technology, we urge you to send us your CV. Atlantic Technologies is growing, with your help, we can grow in the right direction.