Gender equality and gender diversity, as fundamental as it seems, are still major topics that are and should be, perpetually discussed all around the world. Here in Switzerland, we celebrated a few anniversaries last year: 25 years of the Gender Equality Act (July 1, 1996), 30 years of the women’s strike (June 14, 1991), and 50 years of women’s suffrage (February 7, 1971). We have made a lot of progress since, but we still undoubtedly have a long way to go.
If we sketch out important milestones from the annals of history, you could write a saga on the aforementioned topics. However, for the sake of brevity, today I will focus on Advance Metrics’ little corner of the workforce. Ever since the onset of data-driven businesses, positions in fields such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), data analytics, and digital advertising have traditionally been male-dominated. Even today, as a woman in tech, it is very likely that you will find yourself heavily outnumbered in the workplace.
Having read, heard and seen firsthand many difficulties that women in tech face, I did not experience it at Advance Metrics. After having thought about this thoroughly, I realize that we live in a beautiful little blip here and this involves several topics ranging from gender diversity to working from home. I will elaborate on some of these issues in this blog post.
When I was applying for a job at Advance Metrics, one of my first thoughts was “Wow, they have a female CEO and over 50% of employees are women!”. I distinctly remember, I even mentioned this in my interview with our CEO, Evelyn Thar. As superficial as it may seem, this impressed me immensely and was one of the primary factors in my decision to go for the role. Currently, approximately 60% of our employees identify as women, and 2 out of 3 women are in leadership positions. Statistically, in Switzerland, only 11% of women work as IT specialists or analysts and 35% of women work in management positions. This means that Advance Metrics managed to be far above average in this regard. What is it that makes Advance Metrics so much more attractive for women?
It all starts with the recruitment of new team members. The way a job description is presented matters. A study by professors from the University of Waterloo and Duke reveals that male-gendered words used in a job description deter women from even applying. At Advance Metrics, we make sure to be very careful when it comes to the wording. At the same time, it helps that you do not need to hand in a cover letter. Personally speaking, writing cover letters can have so many pitfalls for women that it is easier to not have to write one altogether. Moreover, adding too many unnecessary “required qualifications” does not make it any easier to apply. Studies show that men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women tend to only apply when they meet 100% of all the required points in the description.
Advance Metrics makes it a habit to not add requirements such as “master in the field of X or Y” because we firmly believe that one’s capability to do the job does not necessarily correlate to the degree one has or does not have. It all comes down to the willingness to learn and the motivation to apply oneself in acquiring relevant work experience. This, therefore, gives us the added advantage that we have a bigger pool of diverse applicants to choose from, which in turn helps us maintain heterogeneity in our teams.
Working from Home and Flexible Hours
Once you start working at Advance Metrics, you can choose between working from home, working onsite, or a hybrid model. While working remotely has many amazing benefits (ahem ahem…no judgement for eating cookies all the time), I find it has an additional plus point for women specifically. As we all know, women menstruate and each of us experiences it differently. As a woman, I have to say that it is extremely calming during these turbulent days to know that I can lie down at home in peace for a few minutes at any given point of time. Be it exhaustion or awful pain, just being in the familiar surroundings of my home plays a great psychological effect in maintaining my drive to work. As an added bonus, it is great to have a vacant toilet ready at any moment during the day (and say goodbye to that unsolicited stench from public transport).
Here at Advance Metrics, it is also perfectly normal to bring your child to an internal meeting in case there is nobody else to take care of it. This means you can combine family and work without having to miss out on pay or work experience.
As you might have realized by now, equality between all genders has a high precedence at Advance Metrics. This also translates to the salaries we are paid. As cliché as it may sound, and despite the data suggesting otherwise, we are indeed paid equally for the same roles! Besides that, having written about children in meetings earlier, when one gets pregnant they also receive 100% of their salary throughout their 14 weeks of maternity leave. This also applies to the 2 weeks of paternity leave. On the contrary, by Swiss law, companies are technically only obliged to pay 80% of the salary. This means that Advance Metrics is willing to pay more to go the extra mile.
As I see it, when it comes to equality we live in a bubble of bliss at Advance Metrics and I fully know to appreciate it. Unfortunately, this is rather the exception than the norm and there is still much to do. It may have taken us a long time to get to where we are right now and we as women do have solid grounds to maintain a gloomy outlook but being the optimist that I am, I like to believe that we will eventually get to a point where women in tech are treated as equal and valued professionals.
If you were intrigued by my words about Advance Metrics you are welcome to contact us at any time.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are solely based on my own experiences as a working data analyst in Switzerland, and thus should be treated as such.