International Women’s Day: An Interview with itContracting Director Sharon O’Reilly
International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, while also highlighting gender parity in the workplace.
For women in technology that means we acknowledge those who have pushed the boundaries of the industry and are helping to strengthen workforces by making them more inclusive environments. Now more than ever, women in STEM are needed to provide knowledge and mentorship to others, encouraging the advancement of women across all levels of leadership.
itContracting Practice Director Sharon O’Reilly has been working in the tech industry for over 15 years. Since the beginning of her career at tech company, Evros Technology Group, she has proven her ability and acumen in the IT arena, by establishing one of the country’s leading IT recruitment agency.
An Interview Sharon O’Reilly, itContracting Director
How was gender diversity in the IT industry when you started?
When I first started in the IT industry, it was unusual to cross paths with another female in a key technical role.
Nowadays, while I see a significant improvement in women taking up tech roles today, the vast majority are seen in IT Management Positions, Sales, Programme Managers, Project Managers, and Business Analysts. My concern is that the gap still remains in the core IT skills field, for example Solution Architects and this is where our focus now needs to be to encourage women to take up these roles.
Why do you think there are still barriers to entry for women?
I believe that the crucial factor is the shortage of female role models and lack of mentors within the IT industry. In Evros we are trying to change that by opening up the field to qualified women in senior roles to set such an example. And we have experienced the immediate benefit of that diversity, with more well-rounded solutions and project delivery.
How could the IT industry encourage more women into the workforce?
I believe early engagement is key. It’s reassuring to see just last year, UCD recorded an increase in women studying engineering, yet we will not see the result of this for another five years. There needs to be a consistent level of active engagement with school children to build the workforce of our future. To this end early engagement with Secondary school girls to encourage them to study STEM subjects and participate in initiatives such as CoderDojo is vital.
We ourselves at Evros are setting up a project for the development of an app with a local school. The hopes of this initiative will engage students at TY-level around software and application development, which will result in a more gender-balanced approach to IT subjects. I believe initiatives like this will reap rewards down the line for the Irish IT talent pool, having both women and men contributing a more balanced approach to the country’s already flourishing tech industry.
We believe in inclusivity; and this is reflected in our ever-growing agency which is part of a larger, diverse gender and cultural technology workforce at Evros.
itContracting is an equal opportunity employer who seeks to recruit and appoint the best person for a job regardless of marital / civil partnership status, sex (including pregnancy), age, religion, belief, race, nationality and ethnic or national origin, colour, sexual orientation or disability.