According to the Sunday Times Best Places to Work Awards 2023, OVO is the Best Place to Work for Women.
As someone who always champions the importance of women in tech, this made me extremely proud to work at OVO, and gave me the inspiration to write this blog on why I feel this topic is so important.
Before I dive in, I just wanted to highlight some of the reasons why OVO was given this award, because female respondents to the survey gave OVO an 89.2% engagement score which shows we feel recognised and respected at OVO.
- OVO offers a bigger referral fee when an employee recommends a new recruit for areas with lower diversity, such as women in tech or women in field services.
- Flexible ways of working are hardwired at OVO, which also offers staff shared parental leave and days off to mark “moments that matter”.
- Unlimited compassionate leave, menopause support and “recharge” time off.
- Female representation at OVO increased from 42% to 46% in the last 12 months.
Now Lets talk about women in tech
90% of women believe the technology industry would benefit from having a gender equal workforce. Although more companies are addressing the gender gap in technology, women still only account for around 26% of people working in IT.
Why is this a problem? Some people think that the main reason women are being put off from a career in tech is due to early misconceptions from a lack of education or female role models for young girls.
Whatever the reason, it is clear to see that more employers are working on gender balance and equality, and there are more and more organisations out there helping to support companies on this journey and ultimately helping to get more women into tech roles.
What are we doing at OVO?
As of the end of April 2023, OVO Tech consists of 30.2% women and our target is to be 35% by end of 2023 and 40% by end of 2025.
The high level strategy from talent & attraction point of view is to tap into more diverse talent pools via agencies who specialise in diverse hiring as well as focus on bringing in more junior talent through initiatives like Tech Academy - which is OVO's apprenticeship programme. OVO's aspirational target percentage for female new hires through these avenues was >35% and in April we were at 47.4%!
OVO Tech also aims for mixed panels in the interview process and makes sure all hiring managers have completed inclusive hiring training to remove bias. Talent Acquisition also use tools such as Textio to make sure that the language in job specs is inclusive.
OVO has also recently introduced more transparency around pay brackets by publishing salary ranges with open job roles.
You’ve probably heard the following statistic:
Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.
The finding comes from a Hewlett Packard internal report, and has been quoted in dozens of articles. As one Forbes article put it, “Men are confident about their ability at 60%, but women don’t feel confident until they’ve checked off each item on the list.”
OVO has recognised this, and include a statement at the bottom of every job posting:
Flexible working is also becoming more common in tech companies since the pandemic. The Women In Tech Survey 2023 found that 63% of women place flexible working in their top three benefits which would attract them to a job. This was followed by remote working and training within a company.
The OVO Way of Flexible Working means that our people have as much choice as possible over the hours they work and where they work. Lots of our people work hybrid – a mix of hub and home, but our policy isn’t prescriptive. It’s what works for you and we trust you to do what’s right.
We're committed to building Belonging at OVO, not just because it's the obvious and right thing to do but also because a more diverse and inclusive workforce is a happier, more engaged and more productive one.
As part of this, we have 8 Belonging Networks at OVO, led by our people, for our people.
Read more about belonging at OVO here.
International Womens Day at OVO
On Wednesday 8th March 2023, along with the rest of the world we celebrated International Women's Day.
At OVO we wanted to push the focus around technology, so we decided to host a day dedicated to panels, networking, workshops, internal and external talks all around women in tech.
The event was designed for anyone and everyone to attend, we not only wanted to inspire women who are working in tech, but also educate and raise awareness to everyone on how better to support the needs of women at work.
We hosted some workshops run by Amazon and Google to help empower our female employees who may have been thinking about a career in tech. As a career switcher myself I know that it can be daunting knowing where to start, having a supportive and encouraging working environment can really make all the difference.
The AWS workshop at the Women in Tech event offered valuable guidance on how to kickstart a career in Tech. Attendees were provided with useful information on free technical skill-building programs, recommended groups to join, and upcoming events to participate in. What particularly stood out was the advice on mentorship and networking. Building a strong network and sharing resources are critical components of career growth, learning, and collaboration, making this advice incredibly valuable." - Laura Wady - Developer Tooling @ OVO
It is important to remember that there is still more to be done. We need to keep pushing for equality and always celebrate the amazing things women are doing, not just on International Women's Day, but every day of the year.
OVO will continue to grow and prove ourselves more than worthy of the title 'Best Place to Work for Women'.
I look forward to being involved with more initiatives in the future, including OVO's CTO Christina Scott being part of Code First Girls #REPRESENT series, which aims to highlight strong female tech leaders in order to inspire their community. You can check out who else has been getting involved over on CFG's YouTube channel.