As we open up the First Women Awards for our readers to decide which company deserves the prestigious Business of the Year title, First Women speaks to IBM, one of the shortlisted companies, about its efforts to further its diversity agenda.
The global technology solutions and cloud platform company is all about leveraging innovation and data to improve business and it believes that, like innovation, diversity is essential to its success.
While IBM’s UK board is 50-50, across Europe, women make up 31.2% of its workforce. There’s a huge drive to hire more females.
To facilitate this agenda, IBM launched Girls that can, which focuses on early professionals within the STEM and technical community.
“We’re working on developing a technical community—both hiring and retaining,” Carmina Lees, head of IBM’s security arm for UK and Ireland, tells First Women. “So we put a lot in place around career programmes, development and training.”
For career development, IBM is identifying and nurturing female talent across its business units through Elevate Plus— a 12-month female advancement programme, which takes on 30 participants per year.
The scheme had a 42% success rate in its first year, with these participants now on the executive path within 12-18 months.
“We first ran the programme in 2016 and we now have more people on the programme this year,” Lees explains.
“It has really enhanced people’s visibility because they get to present to senior leadership team. And when we’re looking for people to move up to next level, we have them identified on this advancement programme.”
The senior executive team plays a significant role in delivering diversity programmes across the company.
Read our other six Business of the Year profiles below.