Celebrating International Women's Day - Meet our #WomeninTech
International Women’s Day is celebrated each year on March 8th, and we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate #WomeninTech across Banqsoft and in the industry.
Gender Balance is important as all other diversity in every field of business. When you work in mixed teams you get a broader perspective on things and learn a lot from each other. In the end, that results in better value for the customer.
Today, women generally make up a smaller percentage of the overall technology and IT workforce, and in some cases have been harder to find in programming and developer roles. As society becomes more digitalised, gender balance will be key for companies to innovate with the interests of the full market and drive new transformations in society.
Women Still Underrepresented in the World's Fastest Growing Industry
While Banqsoft’s experience in the Nordics has seen gradual improvements in the gender gap for tech roles, our industry still has a long way to go.
According to a study conducted by Telenor, the largest telecommunications and IT company in the Nordics, the number of females in IT roles has historically remained low.
“The number of women applying for IT courses in higher education may have risen, but overall remains low. In 2015 17% of applicants to IT studies in Norway identified as women, whereas in 2019 this had risen to 26%, according to Samordna opptak (NRK 2019)." (1)
In Banqsoft we are currently 32% women. We are not satisfied with that figure, but it is an industry where it has historically been limited with females graduating from the universities with an IT degree.
Further, when comparing data across 35 European countries, “We can see that only 1 in 5 computer science graduates are women” (OECD Gender Data Portal, 2018)” (1).
What is more, is that on a global scale, only 26% of computing-related jobs are held by women with only a 2% increase in female software engineer hires in the last 20 years (2).
“The IT industry is and has for a long time been underrepresented by women - especially programmers,” says Kjøs. “The industry needs more women. Any industry needs diversity in the workforce to see things from more than one angle, creating innovation and a good working environment. Companies creating technology need diversity in the teams to create the solutions that best cover the needs of society.”
Limitless Opportunities in Tech
Similarly, today we are seeing more females starting their careers in IT through business-related roles such as project management or consulting within the IT industry - even if they do not hold a technical background.
“To some extent, I believe the trend is slowly shifting, especially when looking at generalist roles such as consultants and project managers,” says Tanja Holm, Business Unit Manager for Banqsoft’s TechOps Support Team. “One has strong opportunities of succeeding even without a background in computer science. Although you are not fluent in code, there are a lot of opportunities within fintech.”
Holm first started her career working for Banqsoft in August 2013, and over the years led her to new leadership roles for the TechOps Support team in Banqsoft.
“I entered the fintech world by coincidence, when a fintech company needed my background in business science and languages for expanding in the European market,” says Holm. “I am motivated by new challenges and continuously developing. Both in the industry and in Banqsoft, I have found rewarding opportunities to always learn more and taking on the Support team was one of them.”
For others, their technical careers have led them to new areas of interest and opportunities. Kristin Borge, BU Manager of Development for Banqsoft Credit Management began her interest in development through her first role as a system developer, which later led to leadership positions in her career.
“I grew up with access to computers and always found joy in exploring technology, but it was not my life-long dream to be a developer,” says Kristin. “It was more coincidental that I was offered a position as a system developer right after I finished my education as an IT candidate. Then I found my profession and worked as a developer for many years before I moved into leadership positions.”
“IT gives an opportunity to work within almost any thinkable part of the society. There are really no limits for the need of digitalization and technology” says Borge.
“Tech professions give you the opportunity to work within all kind of interesting areas. In these days, it is also quite common to work in international environments which contributes to cultural understanding and perspective towards the greater society.”
Different perspectives create stronger teams.
Diversity Cultivates Innovation
Gender balance cultivates higher quality products, stronger companies and new innovations. Different backgrounds, ideas and concepts ultimately contribute to making any business or industry stronger.
Sofia Norsebäck, Business Area Manager for Project Management in Banqsoft Sweden, is a member of Banqsoft’s Executive Management team. In her profession she is responsible for the project portfolio including control over progress, budget and risks and for developing the project management framework. She is in many project related customer meetings, works closely with her team members and collaborates with the other business areas and units to ensure successful projects and satisfied customers.
“We see that teams and units with gender balance often have a good climate and high employee satisfaction," says Norsebäck. "Diversity and gender balance is often high on the agenda in our Executive Management team. When recruiting new technicians or developers, we have usually seen more male applicants, so we have discussed how to attract more female developers and benefits that can help with recruitments. Lately, we have seen more females applying with an interest in tech, now that technology is on the forefront of everything we do.”
Joanna Urbanska, a Test Engineer based in Banqsoft Poland, has for the majority of her career worked in more male-dominant areas in tech, but has always had an interest in technology from primary school when she received her first programming book at the age of 10. As a test engineer, Joanna prepares the whole testing process, preparing setup documentation, writing test cases and testing fixed bugs where she works directly with developers, product owners and client consultants.
“Different perspectives create stronger teams. In my role working as a Test Engineer, I have found that working among colleagues with different backgrounds and perspectives have helped us solve even more issues and learn from each other as a unit working together toward the same goals.”
What can companies do to boost diversity in Tech?
As a leading fintech provider in the Nordics, Banqsoft has had an increased focus on attracting new recruitments by offering competitive benefits packages that support work-life balance for all employees, while also encouraging more females to pursue careers in the company.
“To increase the share of women, we are working on how we promote the company, we strive for respect, diversity and equality in our company culture, we offer flexible working hours, we have same salary for same job between genders, and we offer good models for maternity leave for instance, which is not common in all countries,” says Terje Kjøs, CEO of Banqsoft. “All in all, we would like Banqsoft to be a good place to work for all our employees, with no difference between genders.”
Sofia Norsebäck adds, “Being a woman within Banqsoft has never felt like a disadvantage to me, I have been given management position opportunities even if I´ve had small kids at home – just like it should be in all organizations – and always felt that I´m believed in.”
Maybe this is the future – more female leaders in the IT industry.
Banqsoft develops, markets and implements standardized software for the financial industry. To see our available positions, visit jobs.banqsoft.com.
1. Talks, Isobel, et al. “The Gender Gap in Technology in Scandinavia .” Www.telenor.com, Plan International Norway, www.telenor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/The-Gender-Gap-in-Technology-in-Scandinavia_Full-report.pdf.
2. Zuckerman, Arthur. “41 Women In Tech Statistics: 2020/2021 Data, Growth & Predictions.” CompareCamp.com, 12 Feb. 2021, comparecamp.com/women-in-tech-statistics/#3.