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Women in tech: Q&A with Connie Chiasson, Area Vice President at Hays

Interview with Connie Chiasson of Hays, on April 15, 2019

With fewer women in technology, innovation, progressions, and discoveries can only go so far. Diversity brings new perspectives and expands the pool of knowledge. After over 20 years of recruitment experience, including managing a team of IT consultants, Connie Chiasson, Area Vice President at Hays shares her insight on how we can expand the presence of women in technology.

1. What are your thoughts on the gender imbalance in technology?
Despite the gender imbalance in technology, LinkedIn’s statistics show more women entering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields than any other role. However, fewer women entering the technology industry could be associated with a lack of interest, awareness of available opportunities, or perceived bias in the workplace. To fuel this trend, companies, educations systems, and tech associations can promote career opportunities and offer training and development to women who show interest in this field.

2. What are some key challenges for women in this industry?
One of the main challenges for women is finding a mentor who can support them in their careers, especially in a male-dominated field where it’s difficult to identify with a colleague who could mentor them. Also, some women tend to be more risk averse and don’t seek out opportunities for themselves. A great way to overcome this challenge is to partner with a coach or mentor who can help devise a plan to kickstart their career or help them further advance their career in technology.

3. How can recruiters attract more women to tech roles?
For starters, recruiters can get involved with the community and partner with associations that support the growth of women in technology. Ideally, connect with organizations that have an outreach plan that start in the formative years of girls who show interest in STEM. By promoting awareness of technology and its impact on our careers and society, and building relationships with people and organizations in the community, recruiters can help attract more young women to tech roles.

4. What are some misconceptions about working in tech and how can we dispel them?
I think most women associate a career in technology with infrastructure and development jobs, and may not have an interest or aptitude toward that type of work. The good news is that there are many types of roles that support technology organizations and innovation. By developing new skills and being open to roles within the technology industry, individuals can remain competitive in an ever-changing job market. As well, volunteering for projects that involve technology can help steer you towards a career in this industry.

5. What advice would you offer to inspire the next generation of women in tech?
The most important advice is to seek out opportunities and don’t wait for them to come to you. Look for opportunities where you’re currently employed. Get involved with local associations that interest you. Doing so is a way to grow your network and build your skills. Connect with people including a recruitment expert familiar with the market to help navigate your career. For those who are experienced technology professionals, consider offering support and mentorship to young women entering this field. You’ll find this both productive for yourself and rewarding as you pay it forward and help expand the presence of women in technology.

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