International Women's Day 2020
09 March 2020
Charles Taylor have been working hard to ensure we champion women to drive their careers in a variety of ways.
This International Women’s Day, we thought we'd share one of the ways we're doing this. Hear from Dominic Suri, COO at Charles Taylor InsureTech who explains how in 2018 we designed our IT graduate programme with the speciifc intention of recruiting more women into IT.
Dominic Sur: “The 2018 Women in Tech Index and studies from PwC, KPMG, and the World Economic Forum have shown that approximately less than 20% of roles in IT are filled by women. In 2018 Charles Taylor InsureTech (CTI) set about designing its Graduate Programme with the specific intention of recruiting more women into IT who will become IT and business leaders for the future. With this in mind, combined with learnings from discussions with the architects of KPMG’s IT’s Her Future programme, we wanted to create a graduate programme which appealed to all genders and would encourage women to apply.
Gender diversity targets were set during the recruitment process and an emphasis was placed on screening candidates who could demonstrate an interest in technology and business. The recruitment process steered away from the more traditional approach of selecting candidates based on university and the subjects they studied, particularly STEM subjects which remain male-dominated. We also steered away from numerical and behavioural testing as part of the recruitment process and focused more on the behaviours and enthusiasm that candidates showed for our organisation and the programme as these were of more importance to us than a generic test.
The recruitment process itself was based on a ‘recruit in a day model’ whereby candidates were assessed using case studies, 1:1 interviews, group exercises and presentations. Performance criteria was used by a group of female and male assessors from HR, recruitment and various parts of the business. This approach eliminated gender bias by making recruitment decisions based on fact-based evidence from how the candidates performed in these tasks and the collective views of the assessors. To further challenge ourselves, we conducted a wash up session after the interview day, to discuss each candidate’s scores and overall performance. We ensured that during this discussion we removed hierarchy, so all colleagues, regardless of seniority, could challenge and question scores and reasons for such scores - to ensure we eliminated bias.
In September 2019 ten graduates joined CTI. Six were women. The same recruitment approach was used for the 2020 graduate programme which is expected to have a 100% female in-take. Currently, women make up 25% of CTI’s population and we intend to increase that percentage.
The programme has demonstrated that there are plenty of talented and impressive women who want a career in IT but who face systemic barriers. We circumvented those barriers to find candidates rather than waiting for them to navigate the barriers and find us. Having more women working in IT has been shown in countless studies to bring greater diversity of thought, new approaches to problem solving and cognitive diversity (and this has been our experience) - further cementing why diversity is important within business. As a technology organisation, we can only be as good as the ideas we create, and we are proud that our graduates are able to contribute new and fresh ideas to the business, something we strongly believe would not have been the case had we gone down the traditional route.”