Technology and technology-related jobs are growing exponentially but are lacking diversity, which is what helps innovation to flourish. According to Gartner, half of the global workforce is represented by women, however, women only make up 26% of people who work in IT. What is more staggering is that this percentage is lower than the original study that was done in 2018, where we saw female representation at 31%. Many studies that have tried investigating why women leave this profession showed there is no single reason but a combination of them that cultivate the decline of women in this line of work. Factors such as a lack of access to inclusive STEM programs from early ages to cultural biases that make it hard their employing process and to accelerate in this career path.
On the other hand, there were 11.3 million job openings in the US alone at the beginning of last year and 64% of the companies surveyed by Gartner in 2021 believe the ongoing tech talent shortage is the most significant barrier to the adoption of emerging technologies.
While writing this article, I am also reminded of the seven Women Empowerment Principles. As a person working in education for almost 20 years, I focused on principle number four, “Education and Training for Career advancement”, and I know how much education can do to create opportunities and break barriers.
Why Training and Certification?
Skillsoft surveyed 1,100 women in United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and France about the importance of employee benefits. Their answers show that the highest percentage (86%) of women in tech are looking for professional development and training opportunities. This percentage is even higher than healthcare, flexible working hours, or maternity leave.
The IT Industry recognizes education, training, and certification as powerful tools for advancement. Those who are trained and certified display credibility, knowledge, and can also aspire to higher salaries. Differentiating themselves from others and being recognized by their peers as experts can open doors like being included in more complex projects and having the possibility to gain better employment — therefore improving their careers.
The opportunity is here and in line with this idea, so we developed: the EmpowHER VMCE Program.
At Veeam, we believe that education is the best way to progress and evolve an IT career in the right direction. With this in mind, we thought of our best-in-class trainings: Veeam Certified Engineer, known as VMCE, to see what opportunities we can offer to Women in Tech.
As widely known, VMCE is one of our best trainings: it delivers the skills required to effectively install, configure, and manage the Veeam Data Platform, and it is the pre-requisite to sit for the Veeam exams and get the Veeam Engineer certification. Instructor-led VMCE is a paid service (as much as $3,000 USD) delivered by our Veeam Certified Trainers and is available through our Veeam Authorized Education Centers.
During our research, we found out that only 150 students from the courses that we delivered to our partners and customers in 2022 were women, presenting us the same challenge of the rest of IT industry. Why is the number that low? Do women have the same access to VMCE as men? Are there enough female IT professionals in our ecosystem? Again, these questions are not easy to answer, but at Veeam, we are firmly committed to creating an equal environment — not just inside the company but also in the IT industry.
The #EmpowHerVMCE project aims to train and certify more women, regardless of country, business size, or type of affiliation with Veeam in the VMCE. We considered that magic 150 number, and plan to double the number of women receiving the VMCE training this year. The project was sponsored by executive leaders, including Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Senior Vice President (SVP) Product Strategy, Danny Allan, and Larissa Crandall, our vice president, Global Channel & Alliances. During VeeamON 2023 Miami, Danny Allan announced the project on stage alongside Emilee Tellez, product strategy technologist.
There was a significant surge in response, not only from women who promptly enrolled after the announcement but also from individuals who reached out to sponsor their colleagues and partners. A number of Veeam employees also supported the initiative by volunteering and supporting the enrollment process by communicating with the registrations to find the perfect candidates.
Kick off for the project was in Nov. 2023. A series of trainings will be running in all GEOS (North America, Latin America, EMEA, and APJ) until January, giving women across the globe the possibility to participate in this valued training for free.
Two groups of women also had the opportunity to attend in-person trainings at the Veeam offices in Alpharetta, GA and Bucharest, giving them the best experience to network and meet face to face. Danny Allan and Larissa Crandall welcomed the attendees in Alpharetta and shared a space of warm conversation where everyone could bring their own experience and dreams for the future of diversity in IT.
Campaign goals are clear:
- Promoting diversity: We’re committed to infusing qualified women into the market, striving for equal representation of diverse talent within our ecosystem
- Empowering success: We empower women through education and certification, helping individuals flourish in their IT careers
- Cultivating role models: By nurturing talent, we’re creating role models who, in turn, inspire and encourage more women to join, creating a positive feedback loop of progress
We are committed to innovation and excellence, and we understand that the only progress possible is inclusive. Our responsibility drives us to break barriers and push boundaries to shape a new future for technological advancement.
Want to know more? Visit our dedicated page.