According to techUK president, Jacqueline de Rojas, the technology sector is failing to attract enough women into the industry and more needs to be done to encourage girls to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).
And with only 21.1 per cent of the workforce in this sector being female [Wise Women in STEM workforce report, 2016], it’s not too far a stretch to think she’s right.Only 21.1% of the technology industry workforce is female Click To Tweet
The statistics are surprising, especially when historically females were the face of the industry. Women were once known as ‘human computers’ – employees who transcribed raw data and translated it into engineering units using slide rules and mathematical calculations; female countess Ada Lovelace is now widely-acknowledged as ‘the world’s first computer programmer’ and another female, Jean Jennings Bartick, was the programmer of the first all-electric digital computer.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we caught up with six female colleagues at RM Results to find out what first attracted them to the education technology world, and why:
Armed with a strong IT background, and several years within the education and technology industries, Katherine is an invaluable member of our development team.
“When I was a child, I really was very unsure of myself. It’s thanks to my career within the tech industry, and of course through personal experience as well, that my confidence has grown. You would not have recognised me when I was younger, that’s for sure!
I’ve been with RM Results for pretty much two years, and I’m loving it. RM Results is a very professional, technically innovative place to be, but is also very considerate of our customers’ needs. We have a clear strategy that is embedded not only at the top level, but also understood through-out the business. Yes, we work tactically when needs be, but it’s very nice strategically to see where we are going and how, individually, we are helping get there.”
Many of you who’ve called our Helpdesk, would have heard the reassuring sound of Shezana’s voice. But don’t let her calming demeanour, or petite size, fool you, for she is a RM Results powerhouse.
“I’ve been with RM Results for 4 years now, and can – hand on heart – say that no two days have ever been the same. Working on the Helpdesk doesn’t seem like a very glamorous job, and during the busy period it can be quite demanding, but that’s what keeps it interesting.
I like to think of myself as the super girl of the team: I enjoy coming to the rescue to support our users when they are stuck. I love the fact that we are helping people who use the system, and not just working with the technology.”
Ailsa first joined as a graduate recruit in RM Education over 10 years ago. Three years in she left to explore life outside the RM family, only to return to the fold as a Project Manager at RM Results.
“I actually started my post-school life in academia – I’ve got a PhD in German literature, so I wouldn’t say that I actively sought-out a career in technology. When I first joined RM I was a Hardware Project Manager, introducing new products to the RM range. It was quite intimidating as I didn’t know anything about hardware and computers, or services and networks.
I remember when I left RM I was really conflicted; the idea of doing something else thrilled me, but I always wanted to return one day. The reality is that it’s really nice to go and come back, as you build up a whole different view and discover what life is like outside the organisation, yet it also makes you realise what is good about RM.
If you talk to anyone here they’ll say that the company has a great culture. RM really does take care of its employees and, it’s true, it is a really great place to work.”
Suzi has worked in both the Exam Lifecycle Support (ELS) team and our Helpdesk team since joining RM Results. Now as the ELS Team Manager, she’s not only in charge of managing her team, she also helps to manage potential future risks, and optimise in-house processes:
“I’ve worked at RM Results for seven years and I’m still amazed at how dedicated everyone is, and how much work goes into getting exam results out of the door. When you sit your GCSEs you don’t really appreciate it, and then you start here and you see all the processes behind it. It’s mind-blowing.
By working in both the Helpdesk team and the ELS team, I’ve been able to help the program evolve and see how beneficial it is to the examiners. I still get a kick out of the fact that I help students world-wide get their results, and just like Tinkerbell (my favourite super-hero of all time, even if some don’t believe she is one) I’m fascinated by how it all works.”
Planning and Innovation Manager, Christine Clements, has witnessed the changes and growth RM Results has experienced over time. As someone who was part of RM when RM Results was born, she knows a thing or two about how the education technology landscape has evolved to what it is today.
“I can remember, over the years, watching the many montages at our annual kick offs, and thinking ‘wow we do so much, and make such a difference for so many’. RM Results is a really friendly group of people who are passionate about what they do – and that hasn’t changed as we’ve gotten bigger.
I love the fact that we’ve grown, and knowing that we are constantly innovating and making things faster and better for our customers. I think that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been with RM Results for so long. I’m a real ‘need for speed’ person and lover of big technologies. The bigger the better in my opinion. One of my childhood friend’s dad had a working tank, and I’m still jealous of him!”
Suzi is one of the newest members of our Exam Lifecycle Support team, supporting both e-marking and e-testing customers as a Service Consultant. She joins us with a plethora of knowledge from the education and health care sectors.
“I’ve always been interested in technology – when I was little I wanted to be an astronaut or an electrical engineer. Sadly, when I was growing up I wasn’t given the same opportunity as girls have now and was actively discouraged from careers in technology. I’m really proud to say that I now work on the cutting edge of educational technology industry.
Also the very first computer I ever used was an RM Nimbus when I was at Primary School – it still makes me laugh that I’m now working within RM!”
There may still be some way to go to attract more women into STEM industries, but if these ladies are anything to go by, there’s nothing stopping you from having a rewarding and successful career in technology – and it’s never too late to switch over either!
To find out more about working at RM Results, visit our careers website.