Building community engagement – a key driver to women in data

McElla Pappas our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 3/13/2018 10:24 AM

Across the UK and throughout Europe, the data science field is booming. The role of data and data scientists is becoming business as usual as Big Data and Analytics enter the C-suite. London itself boasts more data scientist jobs than anywhere in the country, yet there remains a shortage of talent at over 50% of vacancies in the UK Market.

The scarcity of junior roles and the high demand for work experience in the field, however, offer potential opportunities to growth. Though the shortage exists as a whole across the industry, the shortage of women in the field is less than 20%. However, it is estimated that if women filled the vacancies, the economy would see an additional £2.6bilion annually. The most desired soft skills in data science candidates are a mix of communication skills, an analytical mind-set, passion, dedication and confidence. Candidates must not only be able to gather and analyse data, but also to translate it to help business executives make informed decisions.

Though women are still largely underrepresented in the STEM fields, there are growing trends to encourage girls and women to enter the fields as well as educating businesses on the benefits of women joining their data teams. Events such as MeasureCamp are one of those opportunities. 

The Key to Engagement and Motivation is Community

According to a recent article, one of the key steps to motivation and engagement in the field is the opportunity to actively contributed through meaningful and supportive discussion of best practices as well as the opportunity to connect with others in the field to share personal stories and network. In essence, women learn best through a community. 

Female leaders who have cracked the glass ceiling in the data science space are creating opportunities in an effort to diversify education opportunities, to inspire, to engage, and to motivate data scientists of all genders. This community will, overtime, build on itself as more women gain the courage to raise their hands, rise up, take risks, and set performance metrics to meet and exceed corporate expectations. 

Sharing stories and personal experiences can help build confidence through mentorship and raise collaborative efforts of diverse data teams to new heights. Every person who takes up the challenge to engage in collaboration and innovation without bias and in full equality enables future generations to make their mark as well as fill the data science vacancies which have plagued London and the UK in recent years.

Changing the Conversation and Making an Impact

In a recent interview with McElla Pappas, Vice President of Harnham, we asked her thoughts on how to engage more women in the data science field. Though Ms. Pappas is based in the US, Harnham are a global recruitment firm committed to placing top talent regardless of gender. 

In her own words regarding the engagement of more women in the data science field, "The science that I've always heard is women like to see impact, to see growth so we need to shift the conversation from "this is a technical role" to "this is a role that is changing the way healthcare will look tomorrow". If we can focus and drive more women toward the messaging of what we're impacting; whether it be in the healthcare space, learning and development space, or improving customer experience, I'm sure we'll see more engagement from women." 

By participating in community-driven experiences such as MeasureCampGirls Who CodeTechGirlz, and so on, women of all levels, ages, and experience can gain a better understanding of how to tackle barriers. The networks and connections women have naturally at their fingertips offer creative ways to leverage collaborations and utilise their natural abilities such as insight, empathy, and natural curiosity.

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