Women hold approximately 25 percent of IT jobs in the United States, in the best situations, which is actually a decrease in numbers, according to reports by the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). Not surprisingly, there are many groups and technology companies that are working to close this gap, particularly those who focus on highly technical areas, such as enterprise storage and data management.
“Like most tech companies in the Silicon Valley today, we are working actively towards hiring and retaining larger numbers of women in technology into our workplace. We want to be part of the solution.” said Anna N. Schlegel, NetApp Sr. Director of Globalization and Information Engineering and co-chair of NetApp’s Women in Technology (WIT) Committee. “NetApp is now taking a look at our gender and diversity numbers, and we are discussing what we can do from the top down, partnering with HR and outside agencies to come out with some good goals to drive forward.”
Schlegel, and WIT committee Co-Chair Dona Munch, Vice President, Cloud Business Unit Operations, as well as NetApp’s leadership team want to see the number of women in the technology side of its business grow. They are currently focusing on recruiting women in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields to help drive the company and nurturing those who are already at NetApp through activities such as the recent Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, the world’s largest gathering of women technologists, produced by the Anita Borg Institute.
NetApp, which partners with the Anita Borg Institute, had a booth at the conference in Texas and doubled the number of employees it sent to Grace Hopper this year. As well as learning and networking, they were also empowered to fill six positions for the company on the spot. Two NetApp team members – Liz Haring and Veena Kannan, presented at the Student Opportunity Lab Round Tables on “Cultural Values and Their Impact at Work” at the conference. They also gave away 150 scholarships for the NetApp Storage Associate Hybrid Cloud Certification.
“We sent 56 employees who have been active in the WIT community to Grace Hopper to thank them for driving the WIT agenda within NetApp” Schlegel explained. “They came back energized and ready to help us with two different unconscious bias training pilots and discussions that our Human Resources department is spearheading in conjunction with NCWIT,” she continued. “We bring high-level executives into these talks to help identify areas where we can drive change and set company-wide goals.”
Schlegel says that this focus is very exciting for the company because the role of women within IT is extremely important as “we bring diverse perspectives and different ways of approaching problems and conceptualizing solutions, which benefits not only our company but our customers too.”