Women in Technology – What can we learn from the 2022 Singapore Best Workplaces in Technology?

At the launch of GRowing in Tech (GRIT) Mentorship Program for Women on Oct 31, at the Singapore Best Workplaces in Technology event. (L-R): Joni Ong, Managing Director, Great Place To Work® ASEAN and ANZ, Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo, 5 female mentors from Salesforce, CrowdStrike, Thoughtworks, Adobe and Cisco and GRIT secretariat Shaw Mei-Shaan

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Singapore has been ranked the #1 leading technology innovation hub outside of Silicon Valley, ahead of cities like New York City, Beijing and London for the second year running. It is one of the most wired countries and technologically advanced Information and Communications Technology markets in the world; and in June 2022, wireless broadband penetration rate was 201.3% while mobile penetration reached 163.5%.

As a high-growth industry, tech jobs continue to be in high demand and the number of tech professionals in Singapore has grown to more than 200,000 today, with the number of tech jobs increasing by about 10,000 annually in the last three years.

Research has shown that gender diversity can make companies more innovative and agile and improve their financial performance; in fact, companies with more diverse leadership teams report higher innovation revenue than those with below average diversity.

While initiatives such as SG Women In Tech have led to the increasing awareness of gender-diversity, only 58% of women who graduate with STEM degrees or diplomas go on to have related careers, as compared with 70% of men. In Singapore, women comprise 41% of the tech workforce, and while this is higher than the global average of 28%, more can be done to attract, retain and develop female talent to enable them to maximize their full potential.

31 October 2022 marked our second year recognizing companies on the Singapore Best Workplaces™ in Technology list. Among our list makers, many were intentional in cultivating gender-diversity within their workforce, formalizing and embedding gender-inclusive policies and programs into their talent management strategy.

Here are five tips from our list makers this year:

1. Start off on the right foot

At Adobe Singapore, recruitment practices intentionally mitigate bias. Adobe sources talent from a wide variety of partners and institutions to broaden its reach, partners organizations such as Ladies Who Tech and leverages Textio to ensure that all job descriptions are inclusive.

As part of its commitment to creating diversity in its workforce, it provides bi-annual updates to employees about the workforce demographic makeup, including gender mix and generation distribution. This information is accessible by all employees via its intranet, so that staff can monitor the D&I progress and keep the organization accountable.

2. Consider the path less trodden

Thoughtworks Singapore proactively invests in hiring and developing women technologists who may not have a computer science background. For example, in September to November 2021, it collaborated with Generation Singapore to run a three-month program to train seven mature employees undergoing mid-career switches to become Thoughtworks software developers.

Recognizing the importance of developing a pipeline of talent, it also actively partners with university student groups that seek to promote gender diversity in tech. For example, three Thoughtworkers were mentors at SheHACKS, an annual all-girls hackathon organized by Girls in Tech at United World College South East Asia (UWCSEA) to empower women and encourage younger girls to participate in the field of STEM.

3. Give a boost to bridge the gap

At CrowdStrike Singapore, raising women’s participation in the tech workforce is a concerted effort across its offices around the world. Women employees are part of a dedicated global Employee Resource Group that connects via Slack to share work and life experiences, provide support and advice, and leverage the company’s global initiatives.

The Falcon Rising New Parents program developed by the Learning & Development team is targeted towards new mothers to support their transition returning to the workforce after parental leave. Each participant, regardless of role or seniority, is paired with an external coach based on their leadership style. The coach serves as an accountability partner and guides the participant in the development of skills that matter the most, like improving communication and navigating through work-life challenges as a new parent.

More programs are targeted at other groups of women professionals, and male colleagues are invited to participate in these initiatives. CrowdStrike is committed to provide an environment where women are empowered and supported holistically without a need for an occasion.

4. Intentionally build the rungs of the ladder

Cisco aims to develop world-class, next-generation women leaders, accelerate closure of the gender gap in leadership, and develop and retain female talent. Its JUMP programme is targeted at mid-level high-potential female employees to provide the knowledge and range of skills on everything from building gravitas to learning to take risks. Using a variety of assessment tools, networking activities, self-reflection exercises and unique interactive theatre activities, it enables them to strengthen their skills in strategic thinking, inclusive leadership and career planning to reach their goals.

This, and other efforts, have contributed to a rise in women vice presidents and membership on its executive leadership team.

5. Put the best people up for promotion

Based on insights from its internal employee survey, Salesforce updated its Promotion Guide and conducted training to ensure that all its people leaders were aligned around the five criteria that must be met for an employee to be considered for a promotion. These criteria define business demand and promotion readiness to ensure every leader and employee has a clear understanding of what it takes to get promoted.

To ensure objectivity (so that the decision is not reliant on one person’s opinion alone) it refreshed its stakeholder feedback process to be clearer regarding who should provide input and what criteria they are evaluating. Equality dashboards were also built so each functional leader and their Employee Success Business Partners have visibility into the nomination distribution of women and under-represented minorities to ensure promotions are fair and equitable across each leader’s business.

Our list makers have created a workplace culture that genuinely embraces gender-diversity, and where policies, processes and programs enable women to thrive in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Leaders at every level consistently behave in a way that cultivate and reinforce this environment, and the organization is able to leverage the value of cognitive diversity, varying experiences and perspectives.

To find out who made this year’s Technology List, click here.

Great Place To Work launches the Growing in Tech (GRIT) Mentorship Program for Women in Tech

Great Place To Work® believes that technology is the primary catalyst for change in the world, and that equal representation of women in this sector is critical. Female voices and perspectives are needed to solve today’s complex issues, yet not all women executives in the tech sector have access to the resources, mentorship and culture that women executives in Best Workplaces enjoy.

It is with this impetus that we launched GRIT on October 31 at the Singapore Best Workplaces™ in Technology event, held at Cisco. To date, we have a total of 19 female mentors from Cisco, Adobe, Thoughtworks, CrowdStrike and Salesforce who have committed to this year-long program.

GRIT aims to pair experienced women executives in varied roles from among the Singapore Best Workplaces in Technology to mentor other women executives in companies aspiring to be Certified™. These mentors will connect and mentor interested mentees over a one year period to share experiences, broaden mentees’ network and support them in growing their careers in the Tech space.

GRIT mentor Ms Cecily Ng, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Salesforce Singapore and Taiwan shared: “I’ve had the fortune of being mentored by many other great leaders who have expanded my networks, helped me make decisions and sometimes are just there to listen.” With more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry, Cecily hopes to extend her passion for mentoring. “My mentees are often my source of inspiration and they give me new perspectives. There is an incredible sense of pride and fulfilment when I see my mentees grow in their careers.”

To find out more about the GRIT Mentorship Program or to apply to be a mentee, click here.

Evelyn Kwek

Evelyn is the Managing Director for Great Place To Work®️ in ASEAN and ANZ. Heading the expansion of Great Place To Work offices in ASEAN, Evelyn is convinced that just as the region is growing exponentially on the economic front, the work of building great workplaces FOR ALL™ must go in tandem with economic growth.

A proud mother of 3, Evelyn takes parenting very seriously – she is strict yet giving, result-focused yet generous. Together with husband Roland, they relish exploring new cultures and beautiful places of the world, usually on leisurely self-drive holidays, before the days of Covid.

Pamela Sng

Pamela is the thinker when it comes to research reports and trends as she makes sense of what it means. She has over two decades of consulting and policy experience helping organizations in their journey to become fair and progressive employers. She believes that every organization has the potential to be a great workplace, and works with data to distil insights and develop resources to help them. When Pamela puts on her hat in content development, research and recognition, she works with organizations to improve their workplace practices and create an inclusive environment for their employees. When she’s not burrowing down the rabbit hole of numbers and words, she’s immersed in a new Netflix series or catching up with friends over a good meal and drinks.

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To be eligible for the World’s Best Workplaces list, a company must apply and be named to a minimum of 5 national Best Workplaces lists within our current 58 countries, have 5,000 employees or more worldwide, and at least 40% of the company’s workforce (or 5,000 employees) must be based outside of the home country. Extra points are given based on the number of countries where a company surveys employees with the Great Place to Work Trust Index©, and the percentage of a company’s workforce represented by all Great Place to Work surveys globally. Candidates for the 2017 Worlds Best Workplaces list will have appeared on national workplaces lists published in September 2016 through August 2017.