As separate as they may seem, they are inextricably linked. Current research questions whether the UK has enough graduates coming through our universities with the right skills – the number of under graduates choosing a STEM subject-based degree course is decreasing, something which some experts have put down to the declining popularity of these subjects amongst girls. We’ve already started to make inroads into schools through our work with Cubetto, but this doesn’t encompass the struggle of retaining women skilled in these areas in key roles. But does this affect Tesco? And what can we do?
Currently, just over 20% of our Technology team is female. Our Technology recruitment team is working hard to ensure that diversity is a consideration in all their activities; but we also want to make sure that we retain the incredible talent we have in our female workforce! Feedback has shown time and again that women at Tesco want to feel inspired and empowered to drive their careers forward, and we want to be as proactive as we can be in supporting this, bringing us together to learn from, develop and support each other.
That’s exactly what the recently re-launched Women in Technology network aims to provide. It kicked off on 8th March (International Women’s’ Day), with almost 200 of our colleagues in both the UK and India signing up to be part of the network. Inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean in” philosophy, our aim is to bring together the women in our technology organisation to learn with and from each other about issues which affect us; focus on our development, career goals and aspirations; build confidence and capability (in areas where research shows women would benefit from it most) and develop our internal network. The Women in Technology Group will provide access to role models, peer groups & other valuable career resources, to support the development of women in our function. Our plan is to hold bi-monthly small group sessions (“Circles”) alternating between education & exploration meetings. These will be tailored to our network’s needs and wants, and will include discussions, external speakers and workshops.
We’re really excited to see how our network will grow, and the opportunities it will present for our colleagues. It’s for Tesco employees only, so unfortunately we can’t include any of our partners, but if you’ve got experience of something similar then please feel free to share your stories with us via email.