Women should not have to think twice about joining the tech industry

Women should not have to think twice about joining the tech industry


In this blog post, Alister Dias, Vice President & Managing Director at VMware Australia and New Zealand, discusses gender equality in the work place, primarily within the technology sector.

A recent article in The Register by commentator, inventor and futurist Mark Pesce, questioned why women would want to pursue a career in technology, if they should possibly reconsider and if we as an industry can ethically encourage young women STEM graduates and those with strong sales, consulting and customer-centric potential to pursue a career in tech. Why? According to the piece, many graduate from universities with high marks and ambitions and some go on to work at technology companies where they experience sexism and inequality. This is something that the industry must take urgent steps to change as female participation in STEM is critical to Australia’s digital transformation future.

Successful economies are driven by rapid innovation and knowledge-based industries.

In 2013, Australia’s Office of the Chief Scientist made several recommendations around the future of STEM with one key recommendation being to Grow the pool of STEM informed people in the Australian community. This recommendation is simply unachievable if we cannot encourage half of the population to pursue a career in STEM due to the issues presented in Pesce’s article.

At VMware, we’re deeply committed to working across the industry towards building communities for women in tech and growing the next generation of women leaders.

On another note, we also understand that it’s not only women STEM graduates that need to be encouraged to join our industry.  In Australia, many of our industry’s organisations are sales-based and customer-focused. This means the skills and expertise required should not just be viewed from a STEM perspective.  We don’t want to limit our thinking about what candidates we attract.

As an industry, we need to keep up with the Australian tech industry’s need to attract general sales, consulting and customer relation skills from other industries too. Let’s break the boundaries and think differently about the way we develop people with the right growth mindset.

On a personal level, my daughter has just recently started university and has chosen to study IT.  My influence on her decision to dive in to this subject is something I’m extremely proud of.  I also feel very optimistic for her future, as I experience working with successful, influential women at VMware and from VMware’s customers – day in, day out.

VMware has founded: Women Transforming Technology, a consortium of companies and organisations in industry committed to building a community and tackling issues that are top of mind for women in technology. Our goal is to inspire, support, and connect women in all areas and levels of technology.

Recently, our HR director, Linda Hamill discussed our initiatives and commitments as a tech company to workplace gender equality and the WT2 organisation.

More widely, we believe that diversity is good for our employees and our company – and aim to harness the power of human difference by creating a flexible and inclusive environment where we can all be proud to be our authentic selves bringing our own unique and new ideas, experiences and attributes to the table.

The technology sector must not be a frightening industry for women to join. This is a pre-set stigma that we must work to change to ensure that the industry standard is fair, and not imbalanced. There have been so many successful contributions to the tech industry despite these challenges, just imagine the possibilities if the playing field was equal!

Alister Dias, Vice President & Managing Director at VMware Australia and New Zealand.