Engaging Top Talent | Breakthrough Women in Technology
February 25, 2019
Opportunities in Technology
Furthering an organization’s innovation in technology and data management requires having team members with different ideas and perspectives. Despite this, populations in these fields tend to be fairly homogenous—women and minorities have historically made up only about 20 percent of technology professionals.
A recent study found that among underrepresented groups in technology-related professions, less than 30 percent felt adequately represented at their company. Among those same respondents, only 28 percent gave an “A” grade to the technology industry as a whole for promoting diversity and inclusion initiatives.
However, this trend is poised to change in the coming years. Organizations such as Women in Technology (WIT), the National Center for Women and Information and Technology, and Girls Who Code promote education, networking, and leadership for new people interested in STEM-related fields. This empowerment, coupled with greater corporate advocacy, can not only bring more underrepresented groups into tech but encourage leadership from those groups as well.
Elaine Stephens, Breakthrough Vice President of Technology and WIT Impact Award winner, agrees that with the right opportunities, women will continue to make up more of the STEM-driven workforce, and that Breakthrough is positioning itself at the forefront of this change.
“Technology tends to be a male-dominated field, but that is changing in the industry,” says Stephens. “The fact that our technology and data science teams have so many smart and capable women is pretty exciting.”
Much of this has to do with our drive to bring in industry experts from a variety of different personal and professional backgrounds. At Breakthrough, you will find former teachers, physicists, economists, and Army veterans amid a host of supply chain and transportation professionals. Anyone who is driven to be smart, passionate, and edgy in a constantly-changing industry is a welcome member of our team.
Engaging Top Talent
At Breakthrough, team members are driven to challenge themselves, harnessing their existing skills as well as building new ones. We place a lot of faith in them from the very beginning. For Katie Peer, a system administrator at Breakthrough, an exciting moment for her was the confidence she was given the first day she started.
“My very first day here I was asked to build a server,” says Peer. “I had built them many times before, but Breakthrough’s confidence in me, and it’s ‘we’ll figure it out’ attitude, was very motivating. We even had it up and running by the end of the day!”
Our team members are also encouraged to seek new learning opportunities. For Data Scientist Sarah Martens, learning a new coding language was a challenging, but very enriching, experience.
“I didn’t know R when I started,” says Martens, “but the fact that Breakthrough was willing to provide me with in-depth training so that I could learn it speaks wonders. I spent a lot of time building scripts and did a lot of research; watching myself develop along the way was awesome.”
Offering these types of opportunities to women and other underrepresented groups expands the possibilities for innovation in a workplace, but it’s also important to create spaces for these groups to collaborate within.
According to Senior Data Scientist Yinglei Li, Breakthrough’s team dynamic offers opportunities for meaningful discussions between people of different backgrounds to explore new ideas and innovative strategies.
“In cooperative projects, we are encouraged to talk through challenges, even though there may be several different viewpoints from members of the discussion,” says Li. “This open-mindedness allows us to be comfortable exploring new ways of looking at data and extracting insights.”
A Shared Future
From harnessing meaningful data, to developing new software programs, Breakthrough’s women in technology are leaders in their field. According to Stephens, this part of our culture has a big impact.
“Being in a workplace that makes attracting top talent regardless of gender speaks to our commitment to providing the most positive cultural experience possible,” says Stephens.
Exciting, and hopefully part of a larger trend. As Breakthrough’s headquarter city, Green Bay, brings in more and more technological partnerships, it will be critical for companies to make attracting and recruiting people with diverse skillsets and perspectives a priority.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in technology are expected to grow 13 percent by 2026, translating to over 500,000 new jobs. With a focus on elevating inclusion and attracting diverse talent, these new jobs offer an opportunity for an increasingly diversified workforce, one where ideas and advancements are precipitated by new and dynamic players in the game.
At Breakthrough, we are excited to see these new opportunities develop and witness how it leads our team to more breakthrough moments in the future.
To learn more about our team or explore new opportunities to be a part of it, please visit our careers page.