According to Tech Nation, a government-funded growth platform, almost three million people (9%) of the UK workforce, are employed in the UK tech industry. However only 26% of these are women. Attracting more women into the tech sector therefore remains a key priority, both for government and tech sector employers. It will also help expand the talent pool to address the skills shortages that are endemic across the sector.
MLL fully recognises a diverse and inclusive employment and recruitment strategy is essential to ensuring its future growth. However, actions speak louder than words. In this respect the company is blazing a trail: women currently represent 25% of the total workforce and this trend is growing as evidenced by 50% of all recent MLL recruits being female.
“At a time when the UK faces the biggest recruitment challenges in modern working life, our recruitment campaigns open the doors and actively appeal to as wide a range of people as possible; whatever their background,” said Helen Taylor, MLL’s People and Performance Director. “We know that our business thrives from as diverse a workforce as possible. Accessing the broadest range of experiences and expertise only make us stronger.”
In our new MLL Women in Tech series of articles we will be profiling members of MLL’s outstanding female cohort, starting with Denise Ewart and Emma Clark. Read on and prepare to be inspired!
Denise Ewart firmly believes the people and organisational skills she honed during her stint as a recruitment consultant have remained indispensable throughout her career in tech.
By the time Denise had joined MLL as Senior Service Delivery Manager in 2019 she already had 12 years of tech industry experience under her belt – gained from various roles in sales support, customer service and project delivery at networking companies such as Azzurri Communications.
Denise was the first female member of MLL’s service delivery team. Today she is one of four women in a team of six. Denise puts the team expansion down to the increasing number of customers MLL is winning UK-wide. And as for the number of women in the team, she sees this as indicative of the tech sector’s increasing diversity and inclusivity. “Naturally there are going to be more women in the frame than before,” said Denise.
With responsibility for Scotland and the North East of England, Denise’s role has the dual challenge of being ‘the customer advocate’ in terms of responding and ironing out any potential issues when it comes to delivering on SLAs, while also always keeping MLL’s interests close at heart.
“Wearing two hats at once can present its challenges and calls for a delicate balance of keeping the customer satisfied but without compromising our business interests. It means always keeping a beady eye on the commercial aspects and being firm but fair.”
Ultimately though, striving to keep everybody happy is something she finds very rewarding. “It’s why I like what I do and at MLL particularly. I am working day to day with very talented, highly committed colleagues and in an environment where decisions can be made relatively quickly. This is essential to effective customer delivery.”
Denise recently completed the latest ITiL (Version 4) certification in Service Management. “These days there are more opportunities for women wanting to work and progress their careers in the tech industry – right across the board. It’s a growing and dynamic marketplace and there’s a continuing skills shortage. Furthermore, in service management there’s no barrier to transferring into tech from most other sectors – you can bring your people and organizational skills with you.”
However, Denise still remembers the days when things were very different. “When I was recruiting engineers 15 years ago, I never had a single female candidate to place. How times have changed!”
Emma joined MLL as a Solutions Architect in 2021. Graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with a BSc (Hons) in Cyber Security & Networks in 2020, Emma began her career in tech at a local networks firm where she was an Associate Network & Security Consultant.
Her initial interest in pursuing a career in IT began while studying Computing, Maths, English and Spanish at A Level. She also did voluntary work in her final year at Generations Working Together, setting up a training scheme in her local area to help the elderly get to grips with PCs, mobile phones and social media.
While her love of Spanish could have taken Emma in a completely different direction, she settled on ‘something to do’ with cyber security. “I could see this was an area clearly in demand and would offer potentially lucrative job prospects further down the line,” said Emma.
“I particularly like the variety and responsibility involved in my role at MLL. As a Solutions Architect there is a large emphasis on teamwork and reporting, allowing me to have close day to day interaction with the customer about the technologies and services necessary to bring their requirements solutions to fruition.”
It also calls for Emma to be immersed in helping create the optimum solution. This includes close liaison with the potential network hardware providers and carriers to help evaluate the potential, and the costs involved, when building businesses cases for different network approaches.
While at first the role appeared a little daunting, Emma found MLL’s friendly and highly supportive culture allowed her to gain confidence in her role and thrive on responsibility. “It wasn’t half as scary as I initially imagined!”
She believes there are numerous career opportunities in technology available for graduates entering the jobs market. “For me, in keeping my options open while at school in terms of STEM and Arts subjects stood me in good stead for the type of role I do today.
“While it’s important to be comfortable with technical subjects, being able to see the bigger picture and to articulate in plain English is equally essential – especially when it comes to communicating potential challenges and the possible solutions available.”
If you are interested in a challenging and rewarding role in the networks and security industry, MLL Telecom will be pleased to hear from you!