By Kellie Green, vice president, worldwide support
At the recent HostingCon in San Diego, I was on a panel that was a bit different from the other event sessions. My fellow panelists and I were brought together due to our shared interest in seeing more women in the hosting and cloud industry.
Lack of Women = Lack of Success in the Cloud
This issue is not only important to Odin, but it should be on the radar of all hosters, telcos, and service providers, especially when you look at our industry’s end users. A study recently commissioned by GoDaddy found that women account for 60% of small businesses owners.
“More than half of small businesses in the US are owned and run by women, and those ventures have disproportionately adopted cloud services like email marketing, SEO and SEM services, and online billing and bookkeeping services. As with consumer technology, it’s clear that women’s opinions matter deeply to the success of the small business cloud services industry,” GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving explained last year in a Fortune article.
I couldn’t agree with him more. Cloud providers are at a disadvantage unless there is involvement, input, and innovation from women at all levels of the industry.
I believe that any lack of diversity is suboptimal. A mismatched input (such as between the audience consuming a product and those creating that product) often leads to a disconnected strategic output.
A Surprising Solution
At Odin, we believe that a diverse workforce leads to the highest degree of innovation.
One interesting option for meeting this goal lies in looking carefully at the hiring profiles for roles such as technical support engineers. For example, Odin has the lowest turnover of any tech support organization that I’ve managed. While several factors may contribute to this, one reason is likely our practice of offering extensive training for candidates who may not have a computer science degree but still show a high potential for success. By investing a little more at the beginning with these new hires, we often see larger dividends over time including higher productivity and longer tenure.
Yes, the statistics show there are fewer women graduating with technical degrees than men in most countries. However, if companies consider hiring non-technical candidates into entry-level roles, they can offer training and development to bridge the candidate’s gap in experience. This situation is a win-win: companies will have a larger pool of candidates to choose from, and candidates will have additional opportunities to become involved in our field.
Odin, along with Deloitte and Moss-Adams, is also a founding member of the 100% Talent Initiative in Seattle, which aims to close the gender gap of women in the workforce. I encourage you to visit the initiative’s website to learn more.
Let’s work together to bring more women into the STEM workforce. With a little bit of creativity and determination, my hope is that the hosting and cloud industry can show our leadership on this important business issue to the rest of the IT sector.
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