Time to make it clear – the industry is gender-free. Then why is there a shortage of women in the IT sector? Most likely because we still follow some social beliefs that science is reserved exclusively for men, and a typical programmer is a single introvert in his thirties. Stereotypes like to spread to different areas of our lives, including the workplace. However, it has nothing to do with us, not in Schibsted! Read five stories of women who are not only working at Schibsted Tech Poland, but also contributing to the company’s ongoing growth.
Like every year, on 8 March, we celebrate Women’s Day. Also, at Schibsted. On this occasion, we are keen to emphasise their role within the organisation and find out about what they do, what they are proud of, how their journey with IT has started and what they would advise other women interested in pursuing a career in this industry. We asked them to give their opinions on this matter: Katarzyna Kowalczyk – Country Manager and CFO, Anna Gruca – Senior Talent Acquisition Partner, Nicole Głuszak-Gołda – Engineering Manager, Barbara Ścibior – Front-End Developer and Aleksandra Górna – UX Designer.
How to start an adventure in IT?
– You don’t need to be ready; you need to be prepared to learn – these are the words of Nicole Głuszak-Gołda, which perfectly illustrate the mindset that candidates should have when seeking a job in this industry. Unlike popular belief, there is no need to excel in science or boast a degree in a similar discipline (although it is possible 😉) to get started in IT. Why? Because neither of these determines success in this sector. Anna Gruca, who is in charge of ‘full life cycle’ recruitment at STP in her daily work, adds:
– Want to give it a try? Then read, keep asking people around, and find out if this is something for you. Explore “our language”, but I am not referring to specific code languages, just basic knowledge of technologies, tools, and positions in the industry. Also, remain open to the changes that regulate this market. The ideal candidate for an IT role, as Ania believes, should first and foremost be communicative and demonstrate that they possess well-developed soft skills. Companies in this industry are no longer seeking a typical programmer-introvert but people who will adapt to and match a given organisational culture.
Greater female representation in IT. Is it even feasible?
The IT market is estimated to grow between 2021 and 2026 by 4.8%. Even with diversity sourcing measures, as indicated by the ‘IT Community Survey’ for 2022 conducted by Bulldogjob – Think IT, only 14% of IT employees represent women. Compared to this, Schibsted Tech Poland ranks very well, as reported by Katarzyna Kowalczyk, Country Manager:
The number of women in IT keeps growing every year. Considering only our statistics – we currently employ 28% of women, whilst five years ago, only 16% of women were on board so we can observe a steady growth. I think we should tackle stereotypes that a given profession is the domain of men or women. We are all humans, and the decision should be driven by individual preferences and not gender. However, this process needs further improvement, and the most crucial task is to change the perception of the IT industry already at the school level.
Diversity – a worthwhile investment
Diversity also brings benefits in terms of business because gender-diverse teams ( as well as experience or competencies) are more adaptable to a fast-changing market and generate better results, not only when it comes to assigned projects but also in terms of the company’s financial performance. When being asked whether you consider gender when recruiting an employee to join your team, Nicole says:
I treat everyone equally. Diversity can bring significant value to the business, but it does not impact our recruitment process. When I recruit talents to our team, I focus on competencies and attitude. We are looking for an accountable person with strong communication skills. Collaboration is a significant part of our work culture, so curiosity, teamwork and openness to feedback give us an advantage over the competition. It also helps to build strong relationships and trust within the team.
Why is it worth joining Schibsted?
Undoubtedly, for the Scandinavian working model. This is an aspect that represents a common denominator for every statement. Another significant factor was the opportunity to do something from scratch ‘on one’s own terms’. Kasia Kowalczyk had started building the finance department from scratch and shortly became Country Manager. Basia Ścibior decided to join Schibsted because of the unique chance to develop an interesting project in which architecture and technology selection depended on her. In fact, her adventure with programming had already begun in middle school, when limited blogging opportunities pushed her to study HTML and CCS. In contrast, Ola Górna, who initially pursued a career in IT recruitment, decided to re-brand herself. She attended courses, read professional blogs, undertook studies in User Experience, and finally joined an internship as a UX Designer, after which she stayed with the team for good. What else is there to gain by working here – this is best expressed in Kasia’s words:
At that time [when I was starting my job at STP], I did not consider it in terms of the IT or non-IT industry. I joined as CFO, and my focus was more on the scope of my role rather than the industry. Now I know that working in IT is a privilege – it means cooperation with exceptionally talented and ambitious people who think out of the box and seek inspiration and further development.
We want to thank all the ladies who agreed to be part of this article and share their thoughts on the industry and the role of women in its development. Hopefully, it will continue to grow in a direction free of inequality but full of openness and new opportunities.