Melissa Morphet is Head of Marketing at Tiliter. Being an example to young women and creating opportunities for success is vital to Mel. There were only ten female CEOs in the ASX200 in 2020, and Mel is keen to shine a light on this gap. Here, she tells us why women in senior management positions in a traditionally male-dominated industry such as tech is not only exciting but crucial.
There are always opportunities and problems to figure out in business. I have always believed that it's not who is the most influential in tackling them; it's about having the right, diverse, skilled team at the table to have the discussion and solve them. Both women and men. When people with varying tools for solving complicated tasks come together to find a solution, the results are more powerful. Men and women see things differently and bring unique ideas to the table. This enables better problem solving and a better business outcome. We must place equal force on employees to take action and fix the problem.
The above is just one of many reasons why it's so essential in today's business environment to have senior leaders or management that are women.
This begs why 65% of ASX200 companies have no women in ELT roles. IT solutions are made for the general population — at Tiliter, we make solutions for everyday people to adopt and use. Therefore, is it in the best interest for our technology to be developed and led by a male-dominated group? Surely not.
Why, especially in the tech industry, are there still so few women? Research shows that only 9% of senior executives in the IT industry are women. A decline from 21% in 2017. Maybe the question should be, what stops more women from navigating through the workforce and stepping into these leadership roles?
From my personal experience working within both large corporations and start-ups, I believe that women need the structures and support in place to be more proactive. Men take gambles more readily — women need to feel confident to do the same — to step up, take action and demonstrate accountability. Invest in self-love, self-confidence and the mindset that we can do it!
So how do talented and skilful women in their 20 and 30s, step out to start a family but have the self-confidence to re-enter the workforce with the ability to juggle it all?
Thankfully for me, Tiliter offers a flexible hybrid workspace. Looking forward, most businesses will now offer this — one upside to the covid pandemic. I remember asking myself four years ago when I had my first child, how was I going to manage the balance to step back into full-time work and still manage to be an acceptably present mum. By acceptable, I mean being at home for the important quality hours over dinner, books and bedtime.
Having that flexibility to work remotely, to be able to log on from home and still be considered 'present' helps working mums build the confidence to juggle the responsibility comfortably. Tiliter also offers a supportive parental leave policy to support and encourage fathers and mothers to be more involved in the early household family responsibilities. This is a positive step-change forward!
Oh, and did I mention, here at Tiliter, we even get a day of leave to attend our child's first day of school? No parent wants to miss those special moments; rather than being torn emotionally having to choose between work or parenting, we can do both happily and productively!
As a full-time working mum of two, I know that I have never worked harder in my 17-year career. Why is this? The hybrid working structure allows me not to waste 1.5 hours commuting, 5x days a week, but instead, twice a week. I can use that time effectively to get a kick start in the morning on my work emails!
We also need more role models. By celebrating female leaders in the tech industry, it will hopefully encourage more girls to pursue their interests and careers in tech, creating a more diverse hiring pool.
From personal experience, I have always looked up to women leaders in business and drawn from their knowledge, journey, mistakes, and wins. My mum was one of those women who held a leadership role when I was at school. Role models make a huge difference in my life. When you bring women into senior positions, you demonstrate that there is a path to success for ALL women.
It's vital to hire a diverse team and address the gender-skills gap in STEM and build the desire for young women to join tech companies. Create and show women the growth opportunities within your companies and the leadership potential for everyone.
As we approach International Women's Day, I feel a responsibility to other young women to speak up. To let them know that we have the option to do it all! Our voice is relevant, our skills are required, and above all, it's so rewarding and exciting!
Check out our other opportunities for women in tech here.