Brigid here again and, for this post, in my capacity as a 'woman in tech'!
I was delighted this week to host a discussion session on just that subject at HMRC's London Digital Delivery Centre, as part of London Technology Week. As one of the attendees put it, it was 'great to be in a room where women outnumber men for a change'. I'm passionate about encouraging women to be part of our profession, and while there is lots to do, we have some figures to be proud of in HMRC. Women represent around 45% of our total Digital/IT workforce, and about 40% at senior levels.
The session gave an opportunity for me and some of the other women working in our London Delivery Centre to talk about how we are taking hold of HMRC's digital transformation, designing and delivering new services. This really does give us an innovation challenge and that pace of change was a hot topic of conversation under 'what keeps you going'. It's the scale of things you get to do in government that you really don’t get to do elsewhere. I was also asked about the top qualities for anyone working in tech. You can't go wrong with passion, resilience and the ability to be a strong advocate for our customers' needs!
The work happening in our delivery centres (currently London and Newcastle but soon to be more!) is really exciting, and we’re keen to attract more applications from women whenever we recruit. We talked at the session about the numbers of women choosing the Civil Service technology Fast Stream - only 18% at the last count. Several attendees agreed that we need to look to change things fundamentally, from the culture of science and tech in schools. There is plenty of practical advice from HMRC’s perspective too. We've found that where tech job ads may present barriers to recruiting a more diverse workforce, we offer secondments and the opportunity for other areas of our business to come and see how we work and encourage transference of skills, like content design. And this year we are taking 35 apprentices into our digital teams. There are loads of ways into tech and a wide spectrum of roles on offer. If you’d like to hear about opportunities in HMRC, sign up to alerts from this blog and look out for the latest on our recruitment plans. Do you have thoughts on women in tech? I’m interested to hear and will be watching out for any comments posted.