International Women’s Day is an opportunity for us to consider the contribution of the Australian technology industry to gender equality, and to consider what further challenges lay ahead.
For many women, the technology sector is an exciting and inspiring professional opportunity. The work we do here at Orro helps support businesses and connect and protect communities right around the country. Behind each of these important projects are many highly talented women, working alongside their colleagues to deliver incredible work.
Their contribution cannot be understated. A report from McKinsey Global Institute found that an additional US$12 trillion could be added to the global GDP by 2025 by narrowing the gender gap around the world.
Yet, across the technology industry, opportunities and working conditions are still lacking. A recent report by the Australian Computer Society found women only hold 29 percent of technology related positions. Fewer still are placed in the most senior roles.
Over the past six months, Orro has been systematically overhauling recruitment and workplace policies to offer talented women more opportunities within our business. Some of these new policies include:
- Working closely with recruitment partners and hiring managers to ensure female candidates are included within the talent pool and considered for employment at Orro.
- Redesigning the company’s parental leave policies to increase support for paid maternity leave. As a snapshot, in addition to 16 weeks paid parental leave, the updated policy provides additional superannuation payments and a bonus incentive for women returning to work.
- Assisting employees on maternity leave to ‘keep in touch’ with the business through social and professional support, ensuring they remain connected with Orro ahead of their return to work.
- To support those at different life stages, Orro also provides extra paid leave for fertility, menstruation and menopause.
- Existing policies have also been combined to ensure they are more inclusive, using language that is more gender neutral.
Additionally, today we are announcing a new university scholarship program aimed at attracting women, among other minority groups, to the IT and technology sector.
This includes providing tertiary scholarships supporting financially disadvantaged women, helping them achieve a degree in a technology-related field. The scholarship offers candidates a paid internship with Orro, where they will learn skills they can carry over into their careers once graduated. The program also provides access to Orro’s wellbeing platform and a place on the company’s graduate program. This initiative has been introduced to remove stress and fear about finding a job after graduating, encourage more women to pursue a career in IT and technology and shows candidates that equality is central to Orro’s workplace culture.
We appreciate that there is still more work to be done. However we encourage all members of our technology community to take steps to reduce this gender divide.
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