GFT are proud to support Computing's Women in Tech Excellence Awards and are represented among the finalists in the Hero of the Year category.
The Women in Tech Excellence Awards take place next week in London. GFT's Chief People Officer Judy Pitrakou explains why she supports the drive to increase diversity in technology, and shares details of some of the initiatives GFT have underway to increase the proportion of women working in technical roles.
Why do you support Computing's Women in Tech Excellence Campaign?
It is tremendous to have a body which actively encourages Women in Tech. We have many outstanding women in GFT, and this provides a platform for us to have our incredible talent recognised in the industry. There is much research which attests to the fact that more diverse teams drive innovation and lead to better decisions, thus driving better business and company performance.
How did you get into the IT industry?
I actively sought an organisation that was progressive but which has people at the heart of what it does. GFT's core values are caring, committed, collaborative, courageous and creative and I observed these values during the recruitment process. GFT proactively encourages its employees to not only explore but grow their potential. These values and ethos resonate with me personally and I think GFT is a business that is going from strength to strength and seeking to go beyond traditional industry norms and cultures and truly become an employer of choice. Diversity and inclusion are at the very heart of our business.
What do you think is the main reason why the IT industry is mainly male, especially in technical roles and senior positions?
There are many reasons for this. In research carried out by the European Commission covering Women in Digital:
- 53% of companies trying to recruit ICT specialists report difficulties in finding qualified people.
- Only 1 in 3 Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) graduates is a woman.
- Women account for more than half of the European population. However, only 17% (1 in 6) of the IT specialists in the EU is a woman.
- Women working in ICT earn almost 20% less than men do.
- Only 19% of European ICT entrepreneurs are women.
- 93% of capital invested in European companies this year went to all-male founding teams.
There are, however, inspirational female leaders in senior positions for large technology businesses:
Safra Catz - CEO of Oracle
Susan Wojcicki - CEO of YouTube
Amy Hood - CFO of Microsoft
Marika Lulay - CEO of GFT
I am proud to say that, at GFT, we are taking significant steps to attract more women into tech roles, through our internship programmes, Women@GFT forum, Women in Tech events and our many partnerships with other IT sectors / partners. As part of our DEI strategy, we are continuously exploring how we can grow a more diverse and inclusive culture, and as part of our reward philosophy, looking at our gender pay gap and equal pay to ensure robust and equal compensation packages. Our learning and development programmes also aim to ensure we promote diverse talent and provide various forums for our employees' voices to be actively heard. We also seek to have our talented people recognised in the industry through the Women in Tech awards and have a short-listed candidate in the 2022 awards ceremony, testament to the strong female talent at GFT.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?
That hard work is always recognised and invariably rewarded, not just financially but also in terms of opportunities. One of my central values is to put people at ease, treat others as you would like to be treated and to be humble. I haven't always got things right (who has?!) but I keep focused and my aim is to deliver an exceptional service to our people and teams at GFT.
What are your three top tips for women looking to start a career in IT? / What advice would you give to young women aspiring to take on leadership roles?
- Be brave and have confidence in your own abilities
- Remain open to constructive feedback
- Your recognition will be determined by what you do, not what you say you will / can do