hiring for gender diversity


on the 1st of September 2012, I set myself the goal of hiring 50 of the best female engineers in Asia during the following year. The context is a chronic low ratio in the individual contributor and management population of my teams combined with a rapid rate of growth that allows for these positions to be opening up. With 400+ staff, an attrition rate of 5% opens up 20 jobs and growth rates expected to be even larger – 50 is a reasonable target.

Why am I driving to make an impact here? it’s a moral issue 1st and foremost. A moral issue of fairness, we should leave no-one behind and opportunity should be fairly distributed. However, it is also an issue of strategic imperative  – as diversity and inclusion trend toward the norm, our environment changes. At the cutting edge we have to move faster to stay ahead and in a diverse customer reality, we will gain a commercial advantage in having a rich pool of diverse talent to serve those customers. the third, not completely irrelevant fact is that the more diverse the workplace, the more fun I have!

what I am hoping to learn are transformational behaviours, process and tools that will give me a competitive edge in what would be a proud legacy of diversity and inclusion hiring in Asia.

when starting to prepare some research – there are unlikely to be many more bald a reminder of the attitudes of many past and present. this from http://www.analytictech.com/mb021/gender.htm

In the past, all women in the workplace were automatically assigned to temporary or part-time or low responsibility jobs because it was understood that their first priority was taking care of their families. Unmarried women were likely to quit as soon as they married (often to an up-and-coming executive in the company), and married women were likely to quit as soon as the became pregnant. Women with children were understood to care more about the children than about work. In addition, there was a widespread belief that women were not as capable as men, either physically or mentally or emotionally.

action plan:

1) sourcing : it’s illuminating to compare Computer Science degree and CCIE pass rates and ratios of women to men with the workforce – indeed, I will be using this as the baseline for success in building the pipeline

2) hiring : there are ways that we tell the story of our jobs and careers that inhibit or accelerate attraction to diverse workforce; then there are ways we handle prospects that get in our way, or build even stronger pipelines

3) retention : great! you made the new employee orientation meeting 🙂 but now – how do we ensure and build a career for you?

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why change is the new normal


I had the pleasure of listening to and be outraged by a cleric who opened his sermon “…over the course of several millennia, nothing has really changed, there has been no progress that is meaningful and man faces the same challenges today as he always has”

The pleasure came from having such a provocative statement shake the way I think (always good for the soul) – and then compounded from a most unexpected source – in a small face to face meeting, me and about 12 other folks and Steve Ballmer where the prevailing complaint to him was “Microsoft is exhausting to work for because of the rate of change”. Steve pushed back on that with an argument that computer’s still operate in binary, the web is still HTML and the internet runs on TCP/IP same as it did 20 years ago and it was at this point I began to see the truth of the cleric’s point of view.

why change is the new normal (c) 2011 James StanbridgeIt is not really change that exhausts us, is is the shrinking, ever shorter attention spans and the need to be agile that is hard to keep pace with but accepting that really nothing significant has changed at all will keep you sane.

These then are the tenets of change as I have discovered:

  • Change is a label for a thing called opportunity. Opportunities multiply as they are seized
  • Nothing ever changes, except the label
  • Yesterday you needed for yourself and your tribe to be fed, be healthy, to prosper, to serve purpose and to enjoy one another. You’ll need that tomorrow, come what may.
  • Change the method (label) often – but shoot for the same result all the time
  • Einstein is still right – The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results (change the method)

The core message of this post, along with the others this week must surely be that you cannot spend too much time in thinking about “what the result you are looking for?” Stay focused, prioritised on this and the changes of label or method you choose to achieve it.

I for one would not want to roll back the clock or technical progress where I was not as intimately connected to the world as I currently feel thanks to twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. – the price I have to pay is the attention span I can have for such an enormous constituency and fluid change of agenda – but I have found ways to take energy from it and not just become drained by it. The secret is to jump in, Go! start now.

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UPDATE

And just in case you need more evidence of the changes (in this case over the past 50 years): http://www.ted.com/talks/roger_ebert_remaking_my_voice.html