“The whole IT industry needs to invest in information and education”
Personality development is a keyword in today’s employer branding to attract more women in ICT. However, this keyword should also be lived and not just be in the recruitment claim. Marco Bürli, Head of Project Management at Informatik Aargau, reports on how the Canton of Aargau implements this in the second part of the interview.
In your view, what measures would help to attract more girls to ICT professions?
We need to reduce the cultural and systematic boundaries in the ICT sector, which are created by education and socialisation. Professions should be presented and explained in a gender-neutral way. There should be more focus on the personal development and future prospects of young people. At the Canton of Aargau, for example, we run an action day for girls. In addition, we offer apprentices a separate team that takes care of their professional and personal development and help them prepare for the time after their apprenticeship with a dedicated training programme including practical experience. Our commitment was recognised in 2018 with the ICT Education & Training Award in the category “Administration / NPO” and we received the label “Top ICT Educator”.
You mentioned the action day for girls. What do we mean by that?
At the Action Day, we tried to promote enthusiasm for IT in a playful way. The girls were able to solve their first tasks with a lot of fun in different group sizes under guidance. For example, they received an introduction to the education-oriented visual programming language Scratch, were able to develop a game based on Scratch or experienced a human resource machine. These experiences create positive experiences and the girls learn something about methodology, computer science and themselves. And finally, the day gives a good insight into our work content.
What are you doing in the future to remain attractive as an employer for young – and especially female – talent?
We have to constantly adapt to changing needs and become more creative, for example, when it comes to retaining employees. When it comes to external impact, we certainly still have potential for development in the area of social media. In recent months, the Canton of Aargau has invested a lot, including new profiles on additional social media channels. However, we can still learn a lot from our young talents and from the market when it comes to handling, presence and communication on these platforms. We have also seen companies that dedicate their web presences to segments, for example women in ICT.
What skills should ICT professionals have who want to work for you?
Our department supports specialised departments throughout the administration in the planning, coordination and realisation of IT and digitalisation projects. Thus, we not only provide technical know-how, but also in-depth expertise in (agile) process and project management. Our employees therefore have skills in consulting, process, project and technology management. The tasks are quite demanding; I am aware of that. But this is the only way we can competently support projects from a single source and implement successful digitalisation projects. And of course, this makes the field of activity very diverse: we conduct business analyses, collect requirements, are responsible for quality assurance and also take on partial or overall project management.
The interview with you shows that the Canton of Aargau offers attractive working conditions and invests a lot in further development so that your employees are intrinsically motivated and can develop their own personality. Will you emphasise these aspects even more when recruiting (female) ICT professionals in the future?
The simple answer would be yes. However, many elements have to fit together to find the right person for a position. Our attractiveness as an employer and communication on the right channels are only two components. The points at which (more) women decide on a computer science profession are set much earlier. Here we must – like the entire industry – continue to invest in information and education. We want to support contemporary role models for girls and boys and help to ensure that the talents of tomorrow can choose their path as freely as possible and according to their abilities and enthusiasm. Then perhaps more girls will choose a career in the interesting and varied ICT sector.
About the person
Marco Bürli is Head of Project Management, he coordinates and accompanies digitalisation projects in all departments of the Canton of Aargau. in 2021, the department was involved in 80 projects, including in real estate management, the justice system, the primary schools and the police. The Institute Public Sector Transformation at BFH Wirtschaft has been working closely with the Canton of Aargau for several years, implementing joint projects on the digitalisation of the public sector.