Dell’s UK general manager and executive director, Sarah Shields, on winning the first PCR Woman of the Year award.
During my 20 years working within technology, I have seen the industry evolve out of all recognition.
We now have wearable technology, 3D TVs and displays and the beginnings of artificial intelligence. But when it comes to women working in tech, time seems to have stood still.
According to Gartner, the number of female CIOs has remained static at 14 per cent since 2004 and women occupy only 11.2 per cent of technology leadership roles in EMEA. As a woman in a technology leadership role, I can say that it is not uncommon to be the only woman in the boardroom. To change this trend, we need to be personal advocates for our peers and inspire a culture of inclusion in the workplace.
We need to give girls a launch pad to realise their capabilities by encouraging the industry to engage and demonstrate the options available. It’s important that, as an industry, we start talking to young girls about their future early on and actively show them the benefits of working in IT. This will help them see the opportunities they have to make a real impact on the world through technology, before they start making decisions about A-Levels, university and ultimately their careers.
If we can reach girls at a young age, then I believe we’ll be able to increase the number of women in the technology industry. Beyond that, we need to seek to expand opportunities for women across the industry and we need to strive to ensure that women team members, customers, and suppliers around the world are given the tools they need to succeed in a global workforce.
It’s an absolute honour to receive the PCR Woman of the Year award. Luckily for me, Dell believes strongly in gender equality and actively runs programmes to encourage diversity and inclusion.
To work for one of the leading global IT brands and to be part of a three-woman leadership team also makes me exceptionally proud.
I hope to be able to share my experience to encourage women to take advantage of the opportunities the IT industry has to offer, and help to reverse the shrinking female talent pool.