Business Technology

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Irish tech firms need to do more to bridge gender gap, Wrike director tells Tech Summit

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Tech firms in Ireland need to do more to bridge the gender gap in the industry, according to Wrike's Director of International Sales.

The US online software company was founded in 2007 and was selected for Deloitte's Technology Fast 500 in 2016 for the second consecutive year.

Wrike's move to Dublin was part of the firm's ambitious expansion in Europe - and Patricia DuChene has built the team here from the ground up.

"When I moved to Wrike there was no funding, no IPO and we were in this terrible office but I joined for the company mission ['to make teams insanely productive']," she told independent.ie.

"It's ultimately that mission that I raised my arm when I heard that they were opening an EMEA office in Dublin."

Ms DuChene praised the 'tremendous' assistance of the IDA in helping her build her team.

"Dublin offers a very diverse group of people in a small place so hiring talent wasn't actually a problem," she said.

But Ms DuChene has noted that there is much that the tech industry in Ireland - including Wrike - still needs to do in tackling the gender imbalance in IT.

"I think it's so important for companies to create a community and a culture that is based on potential and soft skills. People don't need to come into the job knowing how to do everything," she said.

"It is the company and management's job to train and guide these employees. We look for people who are great communicators, executors, teammates and people who can prioritise well. And who can prioritise better than a working mom." 

Ms DuChene took part in a panel at the Dublin Tech Summit at Dublin's Convention Centre on Wednesday morning on the topic of collaboration in business.

"We need to talk about workplace culture - a culture of transparency - and you have to start from the top down.  If the top down isn't promoting transparency then employees won't feel comfortable sharing ideas or ideating with people above their ranks," she said.

This culture of transparency also promotes a culture of accountability, according to Ms DuChene.

"Women are less likely to raise their hand and say 'look at me I did this' and the reason is that they're too busy working on something else, getting more stuff done," she said.

"Firms need an application that allows management to see who's really doing work, then women will move through the ranks a lot faster."

Many tech firms - just one of the industries - in Ireland have created women's groups internally that allows female employees to talk about problems that they see, successes that they've had. But is this effective?

"These groups bring together more experienced seasoned women with younger women. And the younger women are going to decide in the early years if they want to stay in tech. If a company has the opportunity to hire a young woman their obligation is that they receive the training that they need to continue their career there.

"At Wrike, we have women who have gone on maternity leave , have left to have two or three kids, and they're often the people that are mentoring the younger women in the company.

"Wrike can do more, every tech company can do more but it's one step at a time."

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