Gender diversity has been a strong recent focus for the ICT industry. Much has been done, is being done (and still needs to be done) to address the gender imbalance across ICT. Ethnic diversity has a similar history of imbalance. With the long tail of Maori and Pasifika underachievement combined with mis-representation within ICT the timing is right for initiatives to address this. Given the recent changes in Government Procurement to focus on delivering broader outcomes for New Zealand and the specific aim to create opportunities for Maori and Pasifika organisations for improved access to Government Procurement there are strong both social and commercial reasons to address the imbalance.
At the event, Livi spoke of his journey from school to his current role as Manager Robotic Process Automation and Software Testing. Livi spoke on the importance making the right life choices at an early age and having people with you to help you stay on course with those life choices. Even with that however, without someone taking the time to provide Livi with that one opportunity for Livi to make use of, Livi’s path would have gone in an entirely different direction. Livi talked also of his ability to now ‘pay it forward’ and provide that same window of opportunity to people today and talked to the resulting ethnic and gender diversity within his own team at Z Energy and the benefits of commitment, loyalty and dedication to ongoing learning and improvement that the diversity focus has delivered. A challenge was made to each of those at the event to both think about who gave them their break / their opportunity and equally how they could ‘pay it forward’ to people in a similar situation today.
Following the presentation there was a lively discussion on what more could be done to increase gender diversity. A focus on attitude over skills was raised, together with leveraging partnerships with New Zealand based suppliers that had more flexibility over recruitment processes to bring on people that could be invested in, jointly with client organisations. The good work of local organisations like Tupu Toa and Talent Rise to nurture Maori and Pasifika people was mentioned, as was the likes of Digital Wings that provide used IT equipment to community organisations. Lynda Turner from Victoria University’s ICT Graduate School talked of the increasing diversity coming into their courses while confirming that more needed to be done at secondary school level to establish awareness of the opportunities in ICT across the gender and ethnic mix and create role models for secondary school students to aspire to. Kay Jones referenced a number of hui’s and conferences that had a focus on enabling diversity including the upcoming NetHui.
This Diversity Event was the second in a series of three that NZRise are hosting through to the end of 2019. Our next presentation – Government CIO Viewpoint on procuring from New Zealand owned suppliers takes place on Wednesday 6th November 2019. Registration are open now.
~ Shane Ross, NZRise Board Member.