WID2020 Pledge FAQ

What is the WID 2020 Pledge?
The Women in Digital 2020 Pledge is a commitment by organisations to a set of undertakings that aim to deliver greater diversity in the tech workforce of Australia, one that better reflects the make-up of the population. This covers organisations in the technology sector itself and organisations across all other sectors. Signatories of the charter make a number of pledges in relation to their approach to recruitment and retention.

Why is there a need for a WID 2020 Pledge?
Just 28% of Tech/ICT workers in Australia are female compared with approximately 43% female representation across other professional fields. And even more shocking than that? Only 3% are currently undertaking graduate level IT studies, despite the fact that “around 75 per cent of all future jobs will require STEM skills and the vast majority of them are technical skills’’. Half the population cannot be ignored, and nor should it be, if there is to be a more diverse, inclusive, fairer and commercially successful Digital workforce and industry.

Is the pledge encouraging positive discrimination, and saying we should hire women regardless of ability?
The WID 2020 Pledge is a commitment to pursue greater gender diversity in your technology team, but not at the sacrifice of merit based hiring. Companies cannot reserve spots for women or deny jobs to men. No matter how much we’d like to balance the scales during the employee selection process, we would never advocate to reject a qualified man in order to hire an under-qualified woman.

Is the WID 2020 Pledge only about the gender imbalance, or about diversity more widely?
Signatories fully acknowledge that diversity is about much more than gender, and while the majority of the charter principles and pledges are generically about diversity and inclusion, many actions relating to gender will lead to diversity on other workforce demographics. Given team diversity is a constant work in progress, Gender is an important and valuable place to start that Women in Digital is well positioned to address.

The WID2020 Pledge includes a goal that, wherever possible, women are included on the shortlist for interviews. How can we achieve this when so few women apply for our tech jobs?
The charter recognises that challenge by setting this as a goal for signatories to work towards, and by the phrase “wherever possible”. To help signatories achieve that goal the WID team has pulled together all sorts of material on best practice that has been proven to increase the number of women applicants, ranging from how job specifications are written to ensuring your employer branding represents females in your imagery and videos.

Further, WID offers a Talent Sourcing service, in which qualified female candidates are presented for merit based hiring.

What resources are available to support us in achieving signature, and to follow through on the charter pledges?
To help you carry the message into your organisation and get its buy-in to signing up, the following materials are available to download from the WID website:

  •  The charter itself, in document form;
  •  This document with its set of Frequently Asked Questions.

To put your pledge plan into action, there is a range of supporting materials also available on the site. These include:

  •  Best practice guidelines and case studies on recruitment
  •  Best practice guidelines and case studies on retention. We also share links to many related initiatives and advice, plus tools and calculators that can be used to support organisational change.

My organisation wants to make progress on staff diversity but isn’t ready to do everything in the WID Pledge, so how can we participate? 
The charter acknowledges that it will take time for signatories to achieve all areas of commitment. So whilst you do need to have a senior leader overseeing the work, to have an action plan and deliver on it, and be willing to share anonymised data, but all this doesn’t have to be operational upon signing.

Can I be involved as an individual or do I have to be part of an organisation?
The main focus of the WID Pledge is on signatory organisations. If you are interested in supporting Women in Digital as an individual we ask that you advocate for the pledge within your networks, get involved in the Women in Digital Awards, and signup to the Women in Digital network to be considered for opportunities with participating Employers.

My organisation needs more evidence to support the case for change, can you help?
Here are some of the sound commercial arguments for gender diversity – at its broadest, not specific to digital/tech skills:

  • Researchers discovered that shifting from an all-male or all-female office to one split evenly along gender lines could increase revenue by roughly 41 percent. (Study from Journal of Economics and Management Strategy).
  • The Tech Sector accounts for 67% women-led businesses with 35% of the businesses growing 50% or more per annum. (Sherry Coutu research)
  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • Studies reveal that gender diverse companies are 45% more likely to improve market share, achieve 53% higher returns on equity, and are 70% more likely to report successfully capturing new markets.

There are so many initiatives in this area, particularly around women in technology, women in digital, girls and STEM subjects at school, it’s really hard to keep track of what is going on. How do I know what my organisation should best participate in, and contribute to?

Women in Digital aims to help individuals and organisations refine their reference point, as we endorse relevant gender oriented events and donate 10% of the profit raised through talent sourcing will be donated to not for profit organisations building the pipeline of Women in the industry.

Do we have to share our organisation’s gender diversity profile data to participate in the WID 2020 Pledge?
The belief that “what isn’t measured isn’t managed” is a key belief under-pinning the WID 2020 Pledge. As such, the commitment to measure and share employee diversity is a key commitment of the pledge, however, this is anonymised and collated, which then allows you to benchmark your own organisation’s diversity position (which only you can see) across the signatory group.

How will you gather and use the gender diversity profile data we share with you?
A very basic data set is required from all signatories, that we would expect all organisations to already hold in their HR systems. Further data can be entered on an optional basis, and over time we expect that more and more employers will also gather this optional information, enabling richer insight and analysis.

What form does the annual report take?
The WID Pledge data collection is just beginning and as such the team are working with early charter signatories to optimise the most practical and useful data set. The first pilot of the report aims to demonstrate the potential of subsequent reports in terms of breadth, depth and degree of segmentation that will be possible over time. Our first 100 supporters will be key to helping shape that.

What is the purpose of the annual report and research?
One of the biggest challenges to an organisation hoping to make change is the ability to measure the impact of that change over time. This is especially true when it comes to understanding diversity in a business, being able to monitor progress, and understand what the real differences are in jobs done by men and women at different levels across tech roles (with anonymised pay benchmarking) is a critical aspect of making effective change.

As such, the WID Pledge will help to collect this data from its membership companies and beyond, and so help its member companies to improve diversity through collection of consistent and comparable tech talent data.

How is the WID organised and managed?
Women in Digital was established as an Incorporated Company.

How do you know whether an employer is following through on their action plan?
This is a voluntary scheme, and so the emphasis will not be on close monitoring of progress by WID but on transparency via published plans and submission of data.

What is the process for managing any press enquiries and press releases?
When you sign the WID 2020 Pledge, a pack of promotional material becomes available, including the WID logo, and draft tweets and press releases for you to adapt. New signatories will be publicised in regular cohorts to create more impact in showing the collective growth in employer numbers. There will also be specific social media publicity around WID events and affiliates.

Are there any fees associated with being a signatory?
Yes, the initial on-boarding and consultation phase is charged, as are the recruitment service.