Leeds, 15 March 2021 – Women make up 16% of the workforce in IT. At BigChange we’re doing better than that, averaging 27%. But we aspire to a 50-50 split. How we can meet this challenge was our focus on International Women’s Day.
Jo Godsmark – our Chief Operating Officer – was joined by six colleagues from across the business, to share experiences of being a woman in tech – and to reflect on why they are the exception in the industry.
Self-selection bias was identified as a key issue. Jo called for more and more women to apply. “I genuinely believe all of our recruiting managers want more women and support them in the business,” she said. “But we don’t receive the volume of applications we want.”
Catriona Faulds, Project Manager in the Customer Success Team, continued: “You feel like you have to meet the whole [job] criteria as a woman, to be a perfectionist, to really outshine yourself to land the role. I feel that you find a different confidence in male candidates, who think they can grow into a role, or step up if selected.”
“I think you can follow that gendered difference through to discussions about pay rises, promotions and opportunities,” said Jo. “I think sometimes women can be less vocal. We therefore have a great obligation as managers and leaders to design processes that don’t rely on people jostling for position, but instead assess fairly on someone’s worth.”
Several employees said that the norms of their upbringing were vital to their success.
“There was a moment where my mum went back into education later in life and it changed the views of me and my sister about what was really achievable,” said Catriona. “She became the breadwinner after university and suddenly the family dynamic changed. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do what I’ve done if I hadn’t seen that.”
Lubov Krasicova, leader of the Automated Test Team, also saw her childhood as crucial. “In Ukraine we have a communist heritage,” she said. “At that time, a lot of women began to work in technical professions so it was normal. My mother-in-law was a rocket constructor.”
Solving this problem requires making changes now, to improve things for future generations.
Erica Donnelly, a Report Developer in Professional Services, said how, “Starting early and having an exposure to the subjects is obviously important. Even though I went to an all-girls school the subjects weren’t gendered, I got to learn about woodwork, soldering, electronics.
“Later in life, getting women into more powerful roles will provide a role model and an aspiration for younger generations. Knowing you can enter into a role because you have someone who is already there is so powerful.”
A powerful discussion also identified both being undervalued or joked about, and employers who wouldn’t let them balance work and family, as barriers to women fulfilling their full potential in tech.
Tansy Sheehy, Customer Service Director, encouraged women to go for it because, “The tech field doesn’t have a criteria you have to fit”.
You can watch the full discussion here:
International Women’s Day 2021 comes at a challenging time. While female doctors and heads of state leading the charge against the pandemic have been put in the spotlight, globally, women’s job losses due to Covid-19 were 1.8 times greater than men’s, while mothers were 50% more likely than fathers to have permanently lost or quit their jobs.
At BigChange we’re proud to promote these conversations, and to set testing goals for ourselves to get more women into tech.
15 March 2021 – Five-time Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockcroft MBE, DL tells BigChange Motivational Monday audience about pushing beyond notions of disability
Soon after Hannah Cockcroft was born, doctors said her parents shouldn’t expect her to walk, talk, or ever live independently.
Hannah, 28, is now a five-time Paralympic gold medalist. As a sprint wheelchair racer, she is world record holder in her category for the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1,500m.
On her journey from her Halifax home to the world stage “Choices over challenge” has been Hannah’s mantra.
Speaking to BigChange’s Motivational Monday audience, she showed how when faced with a challenge, we always have a choice about our attitude and about how to deal with it.
That ethos has led to great achievements on and off the track. “I get asked a lot what’s the achievement I’m most proud of,” said Hannah.
“People presume I’m going to say the MBE or my Paralympic medals. But actually it’s my independence, because it’s a thing my parents never expected.”
Her worldview switched during a visit to her Secondary School from the GB wheelchair basketball team.
“I will always remember that day. They were able to do everything in these chairs. These guys really changed my mind about what it meant to be a wheelchair user.
“It was the day a whole new world was opened up to me.” After years doing homework during PE lessons, or keeping score, Hannah discovered “sport was for me”.
After trying basketball, wheelchair rugby (“I liked the aggression”) and tennis (“I had no hand-eye coordination at all!”), Hannah found her passion in track sprinting.
By 17, she was a GB athlete and a world-record holder.
“That was where I came up against the obstacle of classification. You get a number that means when you line up on the start line you’re racing against people with a similar disability to you.”
“It started a big challenge, because people started to argue I wasn’t racing a fair race.”
“That was the first time I’d ever been bullied. When you are surrounded by people like you, disabled people, that’s the last place you expect the word bullying to crop up. But I was told to put my head in a bonfire because it’d make the world a better place.”
Her first reaction was to ask her coach to send her home. But she chose a different way, and went on to become one of the UK’s greatest athletes.
Hannah’s inspiring story shows that, although we can’t always choose the challenge that faces us, we can always choose how we meet it.
Watch the full video here:
Hannah was joined by Daniel Gray, Chairman of Physcap, a Leeds-based charity, working to improve quality of life for children with physical and mental disabilities across Yorkshire.
Daniel spoke of the tremendous work the charity does for children, and echoed Hannah’s message of giving every child with a disability hope, will to achieve and determination that nothing will beat them.
As BigChange’s charity partner of the month, Physcap will receive the £1,250 raised so far to further its incredible cause.
Next month, we’re excited to welcome Janet Street-Porter, the journalist and broadcaster. Our charity partner is Homeless Street Angels, who provide assistance and resources for the homeless in Leeds. You can donate to Homeless Street Angels here.
You can join our event here.
We hope to see you then.
Leeds, 15 March 2021 – You can now assign a priority to your Notes – marking them to show which need to be addressed first – meaning you can focus and get to work on the most pressing tasks first.
When work piles up, our first instinct can be to get our heads down and crack on, knocking out tasks as they come through. But not all work is equal, and the more effective business has its priorities in order, working to meet the most-pressing needs first.
BigChange understands this, and wants to make it easier for all businesses to tackle work in the most efficient way. That’s why we’ve added a new function in JobWatch that allows users to prioritise Notes, making it easier and faster to see the most pressing information and to get going.
This feature lets admins create a set of ‘Note priorities’ for instance, High / Medium / Low or Gold / Silver / Bronze. These priority sets can be customised for the various different departments and note types around your business.
Administrators can then apply a priority set to a certain type of note in ‘Note types’ and choose which roles can set or change the priority.
Users can then sort their Notes by priority, to see which need addressing first, or filter so only, say, high-priority notes appear.
View a step-by-step guide to introducing note prioritisation at your organisation below:
Prioritisation of Notes is just another way JobWatch can improve productivity and customer service – and give leaders better visibility of business-critical information, fast.
Leeds, February 2021 – Kevin Sinfield MBE revealed the caring heart inside a man of iron, as he told February’s Motivational Monday that raising more than £2.5m for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) was a bigger achievement than leading Leeds Rhinos to seven Super League championships.
February 2021 – This week is a big week for me and for the company I founded eight years ago.
Leeds, 15 December 2020 – It’s been quite a year. Here are the month-by-month highlights.
Leeds, 15 December 2020 – As part of our review of 2020, we cast our minds back to March to see what BigChange did to help workers and customers cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Leeds,15 December 2020 – To finish our round-up of 2020, we look back at how the BigChange family continued to grow this year.