Jane Anderson, Director and co-founder of Younity
What inspired you to become an IT recruiter?
Like most people I fell into IT recruitment, rather than aspiring to become an IT recruiter! I was doing in-house recruitment for an organisation and then decided to move on. I sent my CV through to an agency who looked at it and said, ‘hey, have you thought about IT recruitment?’
I never worked in IT before then and I’m not technical at all. I was very lucky, my first manager in the IT space was great. He was very helpful, encouraged me and made it easy to switch over.
I think the key thing about recruitment is you don’t need to be a specialist in the subject area that you’re working on. You just need to have a broad overview and be able to talk to people in that space.
What do you need to be good at to get into recruitment?
It’s all about relationships. If you’re in the client facing side of things, it’s very much about building relationships, working with people, and enjoying sales.
And if you’re in more in the candidate focus space – you need to be able to talk to a range of different people, and not be afraid to pick up the phone, be proactive or admit what you don’t know.
You learn a hell of a lot from talking to people and saying, ‘Hey, I don’t know. Can you tell me about that?’
Have you faced any challenges as a woman in the recruitment space?
Not at all, I think recruitment is probably predominantly made up of women rather than men. We’ve got a real mix here at Younity. But I think most organisations have a mix of both male and female recruiters.
And it’s I’d say it’s always been around performance as opposed to, you know, being male or female.
Is there a gender gap in technology?
In some areas absolutely. In the more technical roles, I mean developers, engineers, architects it’s predominantly male dominated. I think males, particularly at a younger age, tend to move more into the pure technology stuff and have more of an interest in coding or gaming, which naturally leads onto some of the more technical roles.
Whereas girls, it’s still not quite the same for them. To be honest, I don’t think it necessarily comes down to gender, I think it comes down to the individual.
In certain areas, testing, for example, which would be considered as relatively technical, there’s quite a lot of females moving into that space. So, we’re seeing more female testers than you would do female developers. Hopefully that will change in time.
I think people are looking to try and change that and bring younger graduates and encourage people at a young age to get into these more technical roles.
On the flip side in the projects and service areas, particularly in business analysis and change management there are a lot more women who work in tech, it’s almost more female dominated.
What changes have you seen in the industry over your career?
I think it is not just changes in technology, but there has been a drive for real changes – differences in the way of working more than anything else. When I first started in IT, it was very much a waterfall way of working which has moved a lot more over to agile ways of working and thinking.
There is also more of a focus on diversity within the workplace now, of trying to encourage more females and Māori/Pacifica to get into a tech career, and a lot of larger organisations are playing a key role to bring people into the tech sector.
What are some of the biggest opportunities for women in IT?
People tend to think of working in IT as purely somebody who is sitting down doing coding, or at the end of the phone if you have an issue when logging onto your site. It’s a lot bigger than that.
Businesses want certain outcomes from their IT projects which brings about change in an organization, and we see a lot of women who work in the change management space, and there’s a lot of opportunity for women there.
It is basically what is says on the tin, it’s just managing the change within an organisation. Women tend to be a lot more focused on the more holistic changes and challenges of change – you know, like, say, business analysis, change management, project management, that side of things.
Where do you see the future going for IT? And women in IT?
I think IT will continue to evolve. It’s one of the sectors that there’s always a need for in of every organization, and it’s constantly changing and evolving as systems are changing.
I think there will be more of a drive to get more women involved in some of the more technical roles, the development, engineering, and architecture roles. But I think that will largely come from getting people at a younger age and saying, hey, look, there is a career here for you in this space, don’t be afraid to try it and, you know, go from there really.
How would you inspire people, young women to get into IT?
The big learning curve that I had moving into IT recruitment was that IT isn’t just technology, it’s looking at the broader picture around technology. You don’t have to be particularly technical or really enjoy coding or development to move into IT.
If you are good at working out processes and managing the outcomes and people around it, then you’ll find a lot of IT jobs that will suit you and give you an interesting and often a well-paid career. You don’t necessarily need to build something or be an engineer, it could just be a case of somebody who’s quite comfortable to compartmentalise and look at different stuff that way.
I also think it’s got to be something you enjoy. You know, I think the one thing that stands out in IT is that for a lot of people, it’s a hobby as much as a job. If you’ve got to have an interest in AI for example, you can really get into it.
What’s the challenges of working in IT?
Working in IT means things are always changing, and you have to keep relatively up to date with the latest trends and technologies and how it will impact your work. There are always newer technologies coming through all the time, and some of those will take off and some will fall by the wayside.
It’s one of the things that a good IT recruiter will stay abreast of too. We need to have that knowledge so when a client is asking for 10 years’ experience in a certain technology and you know it’s only 3 years old, you can point that out to them.
Working at Younity
We’ve always just tried to treat everybody as equals. People are looked on as individuals as opposed to, hey, look, they’re male or female, as such.
We have always focused on ‘do we have the right person for the role?’ when we’ve hired. We hire people who we think are going to fit the culture and fit the business as opposed to, you know, just hiring anybody.