The Polish labor market lacks 250 -300k IT specialists (according to SoDA- Employers and IT Services Organization). Employers are not investing in employee training, instead they are constantly raising their recruitment budgets.
Digitization in the labor market
The cost of hiring of a new employee within a standard recruitment procedure is estimated at 30% to 200% of their annual salary, depending on the position. Meanwhile, according to the Polish Economic Institute, as many as 90% of Polish companies find it difficult to recruit employees with adequate skills. Despite this, only 7% of employers decide to reskill or retrain their employees, and only 6% of employees followed that path (Future Collars’ “Great Skills Reset” survey). What are the statistics on women in this respect? Are women and their employers aware of the ongoing digital revolution?
It seems they are not. Women see advancement in digitization, but do not discern the impact of automation and robotization on the future of jobs. 55% of the women surveyed are not concerned about the impact of digitization on their industry, and more than 60% see no connection between the ongoing digital revolution and its impact on their current position.
The occupations most at risk of automation are those related to administration, customer service, trade, i.e. those most often performed by women. The World Economic Forum warns that 85 million jobs will disappear worldwide by 2025. Of course, 97 million new ones are to replace them, but they will require so-called competencies of the future, including advanced digital skills.
- In order to find their feet in a new situation, women need to become aware of the change and get access to specialized training. Education at the school level, while important, is no longer sufficient. Nowadays, the necessary skills are often obtained directly from the employer, and this is true also for new technologies. The responsibility of a modern employer is precisely to offer on-the-job training opportunities, which is especially important for women due to their many non-work responsibilities. Such an employer supports the development of employees, but also increases the competitiveness of the company by improving the competence of the staff and maximizing their potential. In business and on the job market, you will only win if you are not afraid of change and novelty. For that reason, I encourage being bold and open to acquire new competencies- especially digital ones , stresses Ewa Malyszko, president of PFR TFI.
- The number of women in the technology sector is still very low - still 85% of the industry’s employees are men. Thanks to the project Woman Update and the initiative Women in IT Career Day we want to make women realize major changes affecting the labor market. We encourage them to open up and join the world of technology , comments Joanna Pruszyńska-Witkowska, president of Future Collars.
The situation of women in the labor market
It turns out that only 19% of women are satisfied with their current work situation, but as many as 29% are afraid of changing jobs, and 23% have lost confidence in their abilities. The cited results of the “Titans of work” survey leave no illusions - women need motivation and courage, confidence in their competence and support in decision to change.
Why are legal solutions and gender equality campaigns so ineffective? Is the IT industry, so indispensable for digital transformation, open to women? What can be done by the business and state institutions to foster reskilling and upskilling?
We asked these questions (among many more) to Dorota Hryniewiecka-Firlej, CEO in Pfizer Poland, Ewa Krupa, Director for Culture and Development in Orange Poland and Joanna Pruszyńska-Witkowska, Vice President of Future Collars during the online debate “Woman Update - women on the labor market” organized by Future Collars and the THINKTANK center (15.11.2022). The conversation was moderated by Zbigniew Gajewski, Partner at THINKTANK, author of analyses on the impact of new technologies on the labor market and education.
Women are less sure of their competence and therefore avoid certain sectors traditionally defined as masculine.
- It seems crucial today to build self-confidence among women across all industries. It is a popular topic of the public debate, however there is a wide gap between what is said and what is done by the companies. Activating women and building a culture of diversity in organizations is, admittedly, a long and labor-intensive process, but it benefits everyone, creating ideal conditions for development, commented Pfizer Poland CEO Dorota Hryniewiecka-Firlej.
Leaders initiate change
The panelists had no doubts that the impetus for change must come from informed leaders and executives.
- The company should adopt an appropriate strategy at the board level, even if it takes several years to implement. Leaders must set an example for others, and they should be the first to encourage women to take up important positions in companies. These activities should be carried out consistently and consciously, and long-term reskilling and upskilling programs are needed to help women acquire new competencies and encourage them to take up responsible positions , comments Ewa Krupa, Director for Culture and Development at Orange Polska.
Key career recommendations for women include:
- continuous education and development of new competencies
- getting rid of bad habits
- fighting against stereotypes and imaginary limitations, not only among men, but also women, who often exclude themselves from selected industries and professions
The debate was conducted as part of the campaign Woman Update, whose originators are Beata Jarosz and Joanna Pruszyńska-Witkowska of Future Collars. This campaign aims at convincing women to start a career in IT and encourage them to discover their potential and find their place in the technology industry. Partners in the campaign include Amazon, Pfizer, Orange, NESsT and PFR TFI.
On the campaign website https://womanupdate.org/ you can find materials related to re-branding and the situation of women in the labor market. The “Go Beyond” guide is designed to support women in the decision-making process and in overcoming change-related fears and barriers. The podcast series “Inspire Yourself with Woman Update” features interviews with experts and leaders in the IT industry, women who prove that it is possible to reach for more, and that limitations exist only in our heads. At https://futurecollars.com you will find IT Talent Profile aptitude test: to indicate your dominant competencies and the most suitable development paths. You can also take advantage of free classes within various IT-related courses to find the area of your interest.
Log in to IT
The slogan of this year’s Woman Update campaign is “Log in to IT.” The slogan is meant to inspire women to seek their own path in the technological world, regardless of previous experience, education, age or background. IT needs a variety of competencies. Greater participation of women in the industry, including senior positions, is able to close the competency gap that seriously threatens the continuity of many businesses today.
The artificial division between scientific and humanistic thinking is not only out of step with the actual needs of the labor market, but constitutes a dangerous stereotype that inhibits women’s professional development and their growth opportunities in IT. Woman Update’s research shows that women want to learn, but fail to cope with barriers such as lack of time due to the burden of domestic responsibilities, the perception of the Polish labor market as discriminatory against women, and lack of confidence in themselves and their competence.
The “Log on to IT” campaign confronts these barriers. The protagonists of the Woman Update campaign are four women who, at different stages of their lives, decided to change their previous profession and become involved in IT. Their stories prove that competence is not a matter of gender, but of determination, being ready to grow and work hard.
Reskilling and upskilling to the employer’s benefit
It is a myth that robots will take our jobs and digital skills are the only guarantee of a well-paid and satisfying job. In the world of robotics and automation, skills that differentiate humans from algorithms will be essential.
Thus, among the competencies of the future, labor market specialists mention empathy, communication skills, adaptability to changing conditions, being open to learn, leadership and management competencies in a hybrid environment. Such innate qualities and talents will determine success in recruitment, as digital skills can be quickly replenished or developed.
For the next few years, it will be in the interest of employers to map the necessary competencies needed in the organization and recognize the potential of current employees, especially women. Instead of laying off those whose jobs will be taken over by robots, it makes sense to invest in their development and win loyal employees with comprehensive understanding of the company’s processes. Fortunately, the potential of reskilling and upskilling has been noticed by policy makers at the European level. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed that 2023 be declared the “European Year of Skills.” This means plenty of opportunities to improve skills and acquire new qualifications in programs initiated at various levels, as well as funding for courses and training for employees.