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Microsoft takes action on gender diversity

Posted by Rowan O'Grady, Hays Canada President, on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2016

Andrea CoopmanThe IT and technology sector is often in the spotlight for gender diversity, as employee demographics are often skewed with male employees outnumbering women two to one. At senior levels the discrepancy can be even higher.

Many of the IT and technology giants, including Microsoft Canada, are actively addressing this issue, often choosing to release demographic information and discussing the issue openly, instead of trying to hide the unbalance.

In the Hays Global Gender Diversity Report, most respondents suggesting that flexible working practices and education programs will have the biggest impact on gender diversity and equality.

Microsoft Canada senior HR manager Andrea Coopman says these initiatives are important considerations to better support all employees, but the issue is more complicated.

In the technology industry only approximately 20% of all graduates from STEM programs are women, which creates a significant talent shortage in the market for female candidates.

“At Microsoft Canada, we already have flexible working practices and the technology to allow employees to work literally from anywhere. In addition, we have a women’s Employee Resource Group to promote, support, encourage and develop women,” Andrea told Hays Canada. “In addition, we have Unconscious Bias training that all employees are required to take and have made this training publicly available for others to leverage also.”

The company is also trying to address the issue beyond their own hiring plans, with programs starting from early education.

“We have specific development programs for women and a focus on improving gender equality,” Andrea says. “We run several programs such as CodeGeneration and Digigirlz that promote STEM career to girls and encourages girls to pursue education in STEM.”

Globally 45 per cent of women said they don’t have the same career opportunities as men, which Andrea said was disappointing but not surprising.

“It demonstrates that we still have a lot of work to do around the world to promote equality. I would be hopeful that this number would be significantly lower in Canada.”

 

MORE FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY:

Visit the Hays Canada gender diversity page

Download the Global Gender Diversity report

Read the interview with Bell Canada VP Michelle Bourque

Hear from Hays Director Soley Soucie

 

Talk to Hays VP Jackie Burns about gender diversity and improving workplace culture.

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