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Women ReBOOT

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MEDIA RELEASE 
12 July 2018


Are women returners the solution to the tech sector skills shortage?

 Women ReBOOT


Pictured left to right: Paul Healy, CEO Skillnet Ireland and Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton T.D., with Women ReBOOT participants Alison Tighe, Resource Specialist, Datalex and Neha Katoch, Software Engineering Test, MasterCard at the 2018 Women ReBOOT Dublin Graduation.


Are women returners the solution to the tech sector skills shortage?


  • Ireland’s growing skills shortage is increasing with over 12,000 open positions in the technology sector.
  • Only 1 in 4 working in the Irish technology industry are female and 41% of women working in the industry drop-out mid-career.
  • Skillnet Ireland is providing new opportunities for experienced professional women to return to work and alleviate the shortage of staff in the tech sector.
  • The Women ReBOOT programme, which launched in 2017, has supported 60 women to return to work to the tech sector after a career break.
  • Over 40 leading tech players including Mastercard, Accenture, McAfee, Datalex, Microsoft, Akari and Bloomberg PolarLake partner with Women ReBOOT to re-engage with highly skilled returners, addressing recruitment needs and gender balance.

 

The ICT sector will need over 70,000 new workers over the next five years with new graduates likely to make up about half of these numbers.  Developing new sources of talent will be critical to our Irish tech sector. One solution could be to tap into an existing talent pool by supporting tech women to returning to work after a career break.

Only 17% of ICT professionals are female and a further attrition of around 40% in mid-career means that the sector is losing valuable female talent.

The Women ReBOOT programme is an innovative initiative from the Technology Ireland Software Skillnet. Funded by Skillnet Ireland, it supports women with technology sector skills and experience to return to work after a career break, by updating technology and professional skills, building confidence and facilitating paid work placements with leading technology firms.

Speaking at the ReBOOT graduation of the latest group of 26 women, Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton T.D. said:

“There is acknowledged and untapped potential in women who have taken a career break in the technology sector and who are now looking for a route to return to work. The Technology Ireland Software Skillnet Women ReBOOT programme is an excellent way to support women who are returning to work, as well as reducing the growing skills gap in the technology industry in Ireland. The impact of such programmes is clearly evidenced in better outcomes for both employers and the women who engage with these supports.”

Paul Healy, Chief Executive of Skillnet Ireland said:

 “Skillnet Ireland recognises the importance of attracting more women and girls into STEM related careers. We are working with employers to identify and develop female tech talent, and we are pleased to support a number of related initiatives with the Technology Ireland Software Skillnet”.

 For the tech sector the value proposition is clear: This pool of qualified and experienced women can help alleviate the current skills shortage, but also help address the gender imbalance in the sector. The key to enabling talented women re-join the workforce is through an integrated approach with employers and placing skills development, business competency and sectoral knowledge at the forefront.”

Maire Hunt, Network Director of Technology Ireland’s Software Skillnet said:

“Women ReBOOT is a bridge between women and technology employers, which provides the opportunity for women to recommence their careers and opens a new stream of talent for tech employers. The programme recognises the wide range of competencies women develop both within and outside the workforce and integrates that with updated knowledge of technology.

Now on its fourth cohort, we’ve seen 80% of women participants securing immediate employment in the tech sector as software engineers, project managers, scrum masters, technical support engineers, QA and test.”

There are plans to expand the ReBOOT programmes to support the progression of women already in the sector towards leadership roles, to conduct research on women in technology in Ireland, and to create a new Women Technology Leaders forum bringing together top tech employers in a new think-tank.

Funding from Skillnet Ireland will enable a further 100 female technology professionals to re-join the sector and take part in professional development within the sector this year. To find out more about the Women ReBOOT programme, visit www.womenreboot.ie.

 

MEDIA RELEASE
5 September 2017

 

In a male-dominated tech sector, a new programme helps female ‘returners’ reconnect with their careers 

  • Successful pilot of Women ReBOOT leads to rollout of national programme to reconnect experienced ‘returners’ with IT companies
  • Technology Ireland and Software Skillnet scheme is supported over 20 leading players including Accenture, Liberty IT, Google, Microsoft, SAP, MongoDB and MasterCard

 

A highly-successful pilot programme aimed at reintroducing experienced women to tech jobs after career breaks, is expanding nationally and looking for new recruits. The programmes will commence in Dublin and Cork this Autumn.
Women ReBOOT aims to get so-called ‘Returners’ back into full-time roles, through a mix of coaching, online learning, networking skills and work placements in leading tech companies.

Software Skillnet believes that women who are qualified and experienced in the sector -  who may have stepped out on career break to raise families or for other reasons, - can create a new pool of talent for companies. With a little support and upskilling, they could be just what tech companies are looking for.

The booming Digital Technology sector employs 120,000 people in Ireland but studies show the proportion of women employed in technology roles in Ireland is between 16 and 18%.

This summer has seen a slew of headlines and heated debate about the reasons for the global shortfall in female ICT workers. Much attention has focused on making tech careers attractive to girls and young women. However, Software Skillnet says retaining women in the sector is as much of a challenge as attracting them to join.

Stats show that after 10 years of experience 41pc of women have left the technology sector. But according to the Software Skillnet tech companies are encouraging women to rejoin the sector after a career break.

According to Maire Hunt, Network Director of the Technology Ireland Software Skillnet, tech companies are seeking world class technology skills but to ensure commercial success they also need people with strong analytic skills, creative skills, human skills, being able to connect to others, being able to persuade and lead. Typically, women commencing second stage careers have honed these abilities.

The pilot programme for Women ReBOOT attracted huge interest from highly qualified and experienced tech women who are looking to step back into work following a career break. What they lack, possibly more than anything, is the confidence to recognize their abilities,” says Maire.

Software Skillnet says there is a lot that women themselves can do to build their confidence, their personal presence and their unique individual strengths after a career break. This is the key to success in re-entry to second stage careers.

“Women who have left the sector often feel that things have moved on too far for them to return, they feel that they may need to hide the fact that they have been on career break or companies just won’t want to talk to them,” says Siobhan MaughanProgramme Director for Technology Ireland Software Skillnet Women ReBOOT“They can lack confidence in their ability and they need to familiarise themselves with today’s technologies and business models.”

Up to 50 free places are now open for applications from women interested in returning to work in the technology sector. Information evenings will be held in in Cork on October 3 and Dublin on October 5. Registrations can be made at  www.softwareskillnet.ie/women-reboot

Previous participants came from backgrounds in project management, software development, QA roles, testing, UX/UI design, data analytics and technical writing.

Deirdre Noonan took part in Women ReBOOT after 14-years away from the tech sector. She now works for Novitas, an e-learning and training provider. She said: “I realised the gap in my CV wasn’t necessarily an issue. My previous experience was still relevant.” Finishing off her college assignments while continuing her job search, as well as dealing with family life, was a lot to juggle but the support Deirdre received from her coach helped her to manage everything. “It’s helped me to structure my job search and focus on what I want to achieve in my professional life role. It has also clarified the trade-offs between working full-time and part-time. Women ReBOOT has given me lots of insights into the opportunities in technology companies particularly for my specific skillset. It’s been a fantastic experience.”

Women ReBOOT specifically focuses on supporting ICT businesses to connect with experienced and competent female talent to fill specific roles and to support them in meeting their diversity objectives.
Past participants are now working in a range of tech companies like Mongo DB, Datalex, Abbott, Version 1 and Microsoft.

Commenting on the programme, Orla Kelly, Organisational Development Director, Datalex, said: "Datalex were delighted to be involved in the pilot Women ReBOOT and to have the opportunity to engage with this previously untapped pool of experienced ICT women. The participants in the programme were of a high calibre and have specific experience and skills that are directly relevant to our needs."

“The sector acknowledges that it needs to take innovative approaches to upskill and re-introduce this pool of talent to the technology sector. They are actively helping us to take the necessary steps to re-engage with women returners,” adds Maire Hunt of Software Skillnet.