It's no secret that the tech industry is male-dominated and women are underrepresented in this sector. What is the situation like at Creative Dock?
Words by Karolina Kania & Marie Barvínková
I joined Creative Dock last September. While making the jump from Academia to Industry and UX research, I realized the importance of the mentorship and support I got from my new colleagues. I also felt like Creative Dock was a safe space for me to learn and grow. That’s not always the case for women in tech and related industries – some of the real challenges they face include gendered stereotypes, wage inequality, fewer opportunities for promotion, and a lack of female role models.
30% and counting
Even if more and more women choose a career in tech, there are still far fewer of them in this industry than men. According to Adeva’s report, The State of Women in Tech, women hold only 25% of all jobs in the tech sector worldwide. In Europe, 17.7% of tech specialists are women. And in the Czech Republic, women in tech have been making up just over 11% of the workforce in recent years.
At Creative Dock, over 30% of employees are women. They work as developers, QA testers, data analysts, designers, project managers, or innovation specialists among other roles. You’ll also find a fair share of women in product development, content creation and marketing, finances, customer care, and HR. I talked to some of my colleagues to learn about their work experience.
From HR to IT
One year ago, Yana Litvinova decided to change her career path. After several years of working as an IT recruiter, she switched to the role of a QA tester. “When I was in recruitment, 90% of the people I was hiring as IT specialists were men. If it was a woman, they were either an IT specialist or at least a recruiter in tech, like me. People who already knew the world of IT from this perspective,” says Yana who has studied software engineering in economy for a bit.
Now, at Creative Dock, her team is still almost 90% men, but she underlines that all of her colleagues are encouraging and supportive. She also appreciates that the number of women in her industry keeps growing.
A place to be taken seriously
Freedom in the projects we carry out is important for Kateřina Ševčíková, who works as the CPO of the Fairo app. A sociology graduate, she has worked as product specialist and strategist in the banking sector before joining Creative Dock. “This career move was the best step I have ever taken,“ says Kateřina. “We have great freedom, a diverse team, and the opportunity to have our voices heard, ask questions, even make mistakes.”
"We try to motivate people, to help them move forward,” agrees HR specialist Martina Aulehlová. “People working at Creative Dock have great freedom in everything they do. Whatever you want, here you can.”
Just a young woman?
Culture, people, and environment are the three main reasons why Kristina Sedeke, Creative Dock’s CMO, joined our company. “I wanted to have an impact and work on projects developed on an international level,” explains Kristina, who has 12 years of experience in the marketing field.
“In my previous jobs in the corporate environment, other employees often made it clear that I was ‘just a young woman’. I had to defend my ideas and it took almost a year for them to regard my approach and opinions as valid,” she recalls an experience which is unfortunately shared by many women across borders. Up to 40% feel like they are not being taken seriously in their workplace. “In contrast, at Creative Dock, we value each other’s opinions. We support each other regardless of gender, age or any other characteristic.”
We need role models
Lenka Libanska, CEO of Nafirmy.cz, underlines that “women and men in the tech industry should definitely have the same opportunities and be represented equally. However, society is still not ready for that despite various efforts.” Lenka believes that we need more female role models who would inspire, encourage and support girls and women to dare to get further in their careers. “Yes, there are already many role models – but still it’s not enough.”
A passionate runner, Lenka gives an example of Kathrine Switzer who in 1967 became the first woman to officially complete the Boston Marathon, a then all-male race. The photo of Switzer being attacked by an angry race official became iconic. Who would have guessed that 50 years later, almost 50% of marathon runners would be women. This is why we need more role models like Kathrine in other areas as well.
Strength comes in numbers
Technology and innovation industries are still in desperate need of more women to fill the leadership roles. Even if Creative Dock strives to tackle this challenge, women still occupy only 20% of core management positions. But we’re working on it. “Diversity in a workplace is an important asset in the company. It brings a larger variety of perspectives and makes every team more successful. We really try to see the potential in every candidate,” Adam Hanka from the Big Data team explains the team’s hiring process.
“For women, strength comes in numbers. We need more women in the tech industry to ensure a level playing field for everyone,” believes Gabriela Teissing, Creative Dock Group CFO & COO. “I am certain today’s women can have it all,” she adds. “So why not try applying for a job in tech? It’s just a small challenge compared to what we have already achieved.”
Never too late to learn
Even if the number of women in the tech industry increases, there is still a lot to do. Increasing diversity in the workplace is a key player in boosting performance in the workforce and leads to a measurable gain in revenue and new (and better) product development.
But at the end of the day, it comes down to having happy, satisfied employees. That’s why we are proud to announce that Creative Dock has joined the Femme Palette Ambassador Program. In order to create an environment where we can grow and learn from each other, all Creative Dock’s employees will have the possibility to meet during monthly sessions over the next 12 months. We will discuss topics such as gender bias, the importance of mentoring and sponsorship, personal brand, authentic leadership, and more.
"Apart from that, we're planning to launch a dedicated program with the aim to support women in joining tech companies and taking part in the impact we are creating,” notes Gabriela Teissing. "We're going to have a lot of fun!“
Visit Femme Pallette