Fujitsu has recently been announced as one of the Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2018.
I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to say this. Making the Times list is a fantastic achievement, because it’s a benchmark for diversity and inclusion excellence across every industry.
It’s also a place that lots of women will go to when they are choosing which organisation they want to work for, so it’s great for helping us connect with more brilliant female talent.
But more than anything, I’m proud of this recognition because it was unexpected at this early stage.
We’re only three years into our equality programme at Fujitsu, and although it was one of our goals from the very beginning to make the Times Top 50, we had not thought we would be successful on our first submission!
We’ve been working hard to develop a new ethos for the company, but it always takes time for this to translate. Having such success so early is a testament to how far we’ve come – and it’s extra special as it validates the change that we felt was happening around us.
And as if the Top 50 wasn’t enough, Fujitsu UK’s Global Customer Relationship Leader Val Risk has been named Gender Champion of the Year! We’re incredibly proud of Val, all of her hard work and her very deserving win.
As I mentioned before, our original goal was to make the Times Top 50 by 2020. It was an ambitious aim at the time, but I think that we’ve made progress of the back of setting our sights high.
The other aim we set down was to have 30% female representation in the company, and 25% women in senior management roles.
There’s a particular reason for this figure: research has shown that having a 30% female employment ratio increases profit margins by up to 6%.
It’s another ambitious goal, but hopefully it’s the next achievement we’ll be celebrating!
Small steps amount to big change
Fujitsu has done a lot of work to transform itself into a Times Top 50 employer, even in such a short space of time.
We’ve run a range of initiatives to try and address as many aspects of gender inequality as possible. It’s a hugely complex issue, so we have to take multiple approaches to try and tackle it.
Here are some of them:
- Encouraging and supporting young female talent – We’re getting more women involved in development programmes. Now at Fujitsu 32% of Emerging Leaders and 35% of Future Leaders are women. We’ve also implemented projects designed to get women into the STEM pipeline, from graduates to school children.
- Spreading the message throughout the organisation – Raising the profile of diversity and inclusion (D&I) is incredibly important. It was critical to secure the support of the senior leadership team in this. And they have engaged in a full range of initiatives: our CEO has signed the Tech Talent Charter; Senior Leaders held a webinar addressing the importance of gender pay parity; each Senior Leader has to hand in gender action plans to the CEO, and there are quarterly diversity and inclusion breakfast meetings for the Senior Management. This ensures every level of the management team have a stake in D&I at Fujitsu.
- Gender pay gap report – Fujitsu were the first big tech firm to produce and publish a report on gender pay in their organisation. Since then we have created an action plan and are working to achieve a year-on-year reduction.
Finally, I’d like to talk a little bit about my favourite initiative: the Ada Lovelace networking events.
These events celebrate the achievement of women within the STEM disciplines. The first event in 2016 was attended by over fifty high-potential technical women. Attendees connected with one another, shared experiences, and mentored each other.
It’s already had a noticeable impact. This year 14 women were nominated to become Distinguished Engineers, when the year before there were no female nominees.
Plus women now hold 16% of technical roles. Our eventual target is 18% by 2020 – so again we’re making definite progress.
The feedback from the Ada Lovelace events has also been overwhelmingly positive.
One of our attendees, Lucy McGrother – SOC Integration Engineer said: “I appear to be a changed woman since the Ada Lovelace day last year. Not only have I completely re-written my CV, but I’ve gone and got myself a new job! And in part it’s all down to the Ada Lovelace day as it forced me to think about what I was doing and push myself a bit more – and it seems to have paid off in a way I couldn’t have imagined!”
For me this is what makes this work so important. These initiatives clearly make a real and tangible difference to people’s lives, and help shape talented women’s careers forever.
Being the change we want to see in the tech industry
It’s fantastic that Fujitsu has been included in the Times Top 50 as it proves that the tech industry is a good place for women to work.
The IT industry has a challenging reputation to overcome. Only 18% of computer science graduates are women, and 52% of women in STEM careers will leave the industry due to workplace barriers.
In making the Times Top 50, Fujitsu is signalling to its industry peers that it is possible to drive change in a sector traditionally considered to be masculine.
It’s also validation for everyone that their hard work is worthwhile – and everybody has worked really hard!
But the work doesn’t stop here. Our biggest challenge over the next few months will be maintaining momentum. We’re an army of volunteers and we all have busy day jobs, so it could be tough to keep our foot to the floor at all times.
And another pressing challenge will be extending the programme and making the initiatives as inclusive as possible. We have already opened up the women’s business network for men who want to join but we need to keep championing this. This isn’t an elitist movement; we want to bring men on the journey with us, and make sure they can play their part!
As well as keeping the movement inclusive, we will also work towards making it global. The whole Fujitsu organisation can benefit from better diversity and greater equality, so we can take the lessons learned from the UK movement to the rest of the world.
But our main priority is to keep setting ambitious goals – and hopefully achieve them ahead of time. This is the biggest and most exciting challenge that we have ahead of us: to keep going!
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