It is a startling fact that in 2018 there is still such a low representation of women in leadership positions – according to Grant Thornton’s recent Women in Business report, this currently stands at just 22% in the UK.
What’s more, it’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the technology sector in particular – only 17% of the workforce to be exact.
As a father of three daughters, I want to make sure that I’ve done my part in building a better future for them, and for other strong ambitious women.
The main issue is that businesses are not doing enough to encourage women within organisations to feel they have the right to be considered and ultimately give them a seat at the table.
Here at REED, we are making fundamental changes within our culture to encourage and ensure the full participation of women.
Earlier this year, I made three pledges, reiterated below, to help support women in the workplace at REED.
One: I pledge to introduce talks, seminars and webinars once a quarter, which will be run by successful women, to encourage and inspire the women in the business.
Two: I pledge to grow and sustain a female mentoring system to provide the women who work at REED with a system of support and advice.
Three: I pledge that REED will seek to have women make up 50% of its senior leadership team over the next 3-5 years. They will be there because they are good at their jobs.
This is something we are not only passionate about, but greatly committed to achieving, so all of our Co-Members are fully represented to the benefit of future generations.
I have been fortunate enough to work for and with some exceptionally talented women throughout my career.
Recently, I caught up with Beckie Sizer, who joined Reed Online this week as People Director. Beckie has worked with us for 10 years, building her career in HR and championing female leadership within the business.
When I spoke to Beckie, she had this advice for women:
- “Always have the courage to be your authentic self at work and stay true to your own personal values.
- Don’t put up your own barriers to prevent you from progressing your career and achieving your professional goals.
- Overcome that inner critic – she doesn’t work for you!”
Beckie has been working closely with the Reed Specialist Recruitment ‘Women in Leadership’ project group and has been heavily involved in a number of initiatives to support women working at REED, including:
- This year, Reed Technology joined forces with PWC’s Tech She Can Charter to inspire more girls and women to consider a career in technology.
- REED have partnered with Working Forward, the national campaign backed by some of the UK’s top businesses, which look at practical ways to improve the workplace for pregnant women and new parents.
- A Women in Leadership mentor programme, providing tactical advice to aspiring women within the business on how to make that next move. So far, we have around 20 mentees, and we hope to extend this programme to all areas of the business in the near future.
Additionally, reed.co.uk runs a ‘Women in Tech’ project, with a primary focus to increase the number of women in technology roles within the company, and the technology sector as a whole.
These commitments are woven into the fabric of how we operate to make sure our working environment is a better, more diverse place to work, and somewhere people want to get up and go to on a Monday morning.