Women in ICT: “I am happy about every female applicant”
The ICT sector is lacking skilled workers, which is why it is increasingly recruiting female talent. In an interview, Managing Director Sandra Völler talks about equal opportunities and women in ICT professions.
Ms Völler, as the managing director of a technology company, can you explain why only a few women in Switzerland opt for technology and IT-related vocational training or fields of study?
I think that this decision happens much earlier. Already in primary school, a false image of the computer scientist is formed. People think that these are people who screw around with computers and that, to put it exaggeratedly, only boys with previous IT knowledge go to IT secondary school. Unfortunately, there is still no comprehensive, early orientation about the possibilities of IT professions. The skills would certainly be there, but there is a lack of suitable job descriptions and role models that girls can orientate themselves on.
Do you (intrinsically) pursue a women’s quota in the ICT sector of your company?
We already have a good proportion of women in our company. In general, every application from a woman makes me happy, although unfortunately there are far too few of them. With our internal “Mentos Programme”, I am personally committed to promoting young women in our company.
Have you already run special campaigns to promote women in the company?
No. When we advertise a position, we always look for the talent as such.
Do you offer trial apprenticeships or internships with a focus on equal opportunities?
We organise the annual Future Day with the aim of arousing enthusiasm for ICT professions. This has worked well so far: Today, we can already count several daughters (and of course sons) of employees among our colleagues.
Do you use a different language in job advertisements to attract more women to apply?
No, we try to create modern and open-minded job advertisements with videos and statements from all areas. We want to be attractive to all talents.
How important are good grades in STEM subjects in the CV of an application?
Just as important as the soft skills: enthusiasm, communication skills and a sense of responsibility.
Do you feel that men are generally more confident when starting a new job?
I don’t think that’s as pronounced today. Unfortunately, however, young women are not always quite as confident about their skills and tend to emphasise what they can’t do yet in order to hedge their bets.
Do women find it more difficult to show their own technical competence?
No. They are just partly not self-confident enough because they tend not to like being the centre of attention as much as some of their male colleagues.
Did you personally feel that you had to take a “harder road” than a male colleague on the way to your position as managing director?
No, because I was always aware of how to take advantage of my skills. As an example, my communication skills and empathy have certainly always helped me, whether in acquisition, leadership or expanding business with clients and partners.
About the person
Sandra Völler is the managing director of Agilita AG. The company is a partner of the Institute Public Sector Transformation at BFH Wirtschaft and supports companies in the introduction and further development of SAP applications. Among other things, it supports the Department in organising TRANSFORM 2021 on 3 November 2021. The online conference focuses on the tension between a digitalised everyday working life and a world of work that places people more at its centre. Click here to register.