One of the primary hurdles for women looking to break into the tech industry is a lack of exposure at an early age. Further complicating this is the fact that there is a lot of confusion about opportunities in the tech industry. For instance, fewer girls than boys enroll in IT or computer science courses in university, which often has a cascading effect when it comes time to enter the workforce. While a role in the tech industry doesn’t often always require IT or computer science degrees, the lack of awareness, coupled with a lack of understanding of qualifications, put many female workers off. Further complicating matters is the IT industry’s reputation of a male dominated workforce that could manifest in hostile or unwelcoming work environments. This perception is being aggressively addressed, with equal opportunity positions available to all. To discuss many of these issues, concerns, and to explore how the industry can do better to attract a qualified female workforce, we sat down with Tampnet’s HR Director, Hilde Mattingsdal, to discuss the company’s “Women in Tech” initiative.
Q: Tell us about your role at Tampnet, and how long you’ve been with the company.
A: I am the HR Director at Tampnet and have worked there for five years after working for a shipping company. I am responsible for all Human Resources of Tampnet and our strategy and operations across all regions. As the only woman on Tampnet’s Executive leadership team I firmly believe more women should be in management positions.
Q: Can you elaborate on Tampnet’s Women in Tech initiative?
A: Tampnet’s Women in Tech initiative was created when the company began to focus on our new ESG and social responsibility initiatives. Tampnet aims to be an inclusive company with a diverse team; therefore, we focus on aspects of culture and diversity that help the company grow. The initiative was the result of a question that the rest of the Executive leadership team and I had: “What more can Tampnet do?” We created the Women in Tech initiative to focus on employee branding and to actively demonstrate our commitment to opening opportunities to women in the industry.
Q: What are some of the steps Tampnet is taking to achieve the Tampnet Women in Tech initiative goals?
A: One of the first things we did was start recruiting from the increasing percentage of women enrolled in tech-related courses. While Tampnet now has 19% women employees, with 13% of management positions held by women, we want to achieve 30% female employees and 25% women in management by 2025. To reach our 2025 goals, there are many steps Tampnet plans to take with our Women in Tech initiative. We aim to raise awareness, report on gender balance monthly, and remain consistent with our commitment to equal opportunity employment. We also encourage female participation in networking events. With zero tolerance for sexual harassment in our company, we aim to have 1 out of 3 final candidates be women for all of our open positions. We ensure the wording and focus of our job recruitment ads promote the company’s Women in Tech initiative and its goals in our job postings. We also plan to facilitate flexible work hours that enable the working mothers on our team to schedule around child care duties in alignment with our family-oriented culture.
Some of the Women in Tech at Tampnet
Q: How did the Women in Tech initiative begin?
A: To kick off the Women in Tech initiative, we invited external speakers to share their input and experiences. For us, Providing positive role models is a powerful way to attract and empower our most promising recruits and employees. Our goal was to raise awareness of the initiative and motivate the entire company to help us reach our 2025 target goals. We emphasized Tampnet’s goals for women in technology and our plans to hold ourselves responsible for meeting these goals.
Q: What challenges does Tampnet face when recruiting and hiring women?
A: The more tech-specific a position, the harder it is to fill with a female candidate, but our support function areas are often easier to fill with women candidates. With IT and computer science courses seeing more and more women registered, we hope to see an increase in women applying for the more technical openings and roles with Tampnet. Tampnet collaborates with the University of Stavanger to hold career fairs and attend student events to promote employment opportunities and approaches for women in tech. Additionally, Tampnet offers operations technician positions that are part-time for university students, and in a sense, these students become our ambassadors on the campus. Recruiting and hiring women is not just a challenge for Tampnet but also the entire global tech industry.
Q: What are some of the hurdles for women trying to get into the tech industry?
A: Tech recruiters at Tampnet, and at large companies, need to focus on attracting women at an earlier stage. This is difficult because while there is an increase in women attending university, there is a low percentage of tech-related courses. This challenge requires organizations to work with schools to encourage women to apply to tech courses at a young age. Similar recruitment challenges can be seen in other industries, such as mariners. The tech industry has been challenged because women see few to no initiatives or benefits in joining the tech workforce. As such, we aim to help change that perspective and understanding through this initiative.
Hilde is an outdoor person who loves to sleep in the hammock in the woods.
Q: What are the challenges when recruiting upper management and executive positions?
A: Tampnet needs to focus on succession planning, talent management, and raising awareness of opportunities that are available in the tech industry (that may not require technical training). There are limited roles in the upper management category, so Tampnet needs to be strategic when identifying candidates and choosing individuals that fit our companies’ business needs, culture, and the needs of the Women in Tech initiative. As part of that initiative, we had women in management training programs teach about implementing these solutions, and we shared these sessions with the Women in the Tech group across our company.
Q: What are the key factors that are attractive to women looking for a position with Tampnet?
A: Our family-oriented culture allows women to have a fulfilling job while caring for their children and families. We are highly committed to remote work, which is extremely important for candidates during COVID-19. We have seen significant advantages of offering remote work options to current and future employees. We continued hiring throughout the pandemic with an enhanced focus on diversity. Not just for women but also diversity at scale, including race, religion, age, and other factors. Tampnet measures everything, and these factors are essential to having an inclusive workforce.
Q: What advice would you pass on to other women to help them progress in this industry?
A: Reach out to those in the industry to build a network and identify potential opportunities. Candidates should look for a tech company with a good culture that provides work flexibility. Networking can help you find an employer who offers work-life balance, allowing women time off when they need it most.
To learn more about Tampnet’s Women in Tech initiative, you can visit: https://www.tampnet.com/women-in-tech