NAB employs resident ‘girl geek’ to support women in tech roles

One of number of Big Four bank initiatives to improve female representation in technology

NAB will be running an all-female hackathon and employing a ‘girl geek in residence’ as part of a continued effort to support women working in technology at the bank.

It is the latest in a slew of initiatives from the Big Four banks aimed at boosting the number of women employed in IT and technical roles.

Girl Geek Academy CEO Sarah Moran will embed herself within NAB’s technology team later this year to run programs to help employees “build their careers and use their skills to innovate for customers,” the bank said.

As well as the hackathons, a #SheMakes program – giving participants an opportunity to learn software design and coding skills, and test business ideas – will also run.

“The culture at NAB is a rare find in a company – it’s a culture where women are empowered to advance their career in technology,” Moran said.

NAB has run its Women in Technology (WiT) program since 2014. Since then the bank has seen the number of women in senior technology roles increase from 18 to 27 per cent.

Founder of the WiT program, NAB’s Divisional CIO of Technology Support Services Dayle Stevens says Moran brought an “outside-in perspective”.

“Sarah and the Girl Geek Academy pitched the Girl Geek in Residence idea as an opportunity to come together, use our knowledge and our networks to tackle the issues facing women in technology together,” Stevens said.

“As a major employer in the technology industry, this partnership is helping us deliver on our commitment to supporting gender diversity and the push to see more women in technology. I knew Girl Geek Academy were already changing outcomes for women in tech and having great success – and this was an opportunity to broaden the program’s reach and positively impact NAB employees too.

“At the same time, Sarah gets to pilot Girl Geek Academy events and ideas with us, taking their programs from smaller groups to hundreds here at NAB and even more beyond.”

Sector drive

Westpac publicly committed to having 50 per cent of leadership roles at the bank held by women by this year, and is currently tracking at 48 per cent.

It too runs internal initiatives such as its Technology Future Female Leaders program which mentors women seeking leadership roles. Last year the bank partnered with Vogue Australia to offer a coding camp aimed at young women.

A number of its senior female technology chiefs, such as Anastasia Cammaroto, chief information officer of Westpac Group’s BT Financial business, mentor female STEM students.

“I feel very passionately that we need to address the gender imbalance in technology,” Cammaroto said. “Through diversity we get better ideas that are more representative of the communities we’re building products and solutions for. The future is all about digital and women need to be part of defining that future.

“I’m proud of the work we’re doing at Westpac to advance more women into technology careers.”

ANZ, which appointed Lynwen Connick as chief information security officer in February, has a number of programs in place to address gender balance across the wider business. Maile Carnegie, former managing director for Australia and New Zealand at Google, joined the bank to lead its digital banking efforts in July last year.

Read more: Better IT management sought in NSW after LifeLink woes

Commonwealth Bank of Australia is a sponsor of the Australian Computing, Coding, and Engineering Summer School for Women (ACCESS for Women) which runs at UNSW which aims to encourage women to follow Computer Science as a career.

As part of International Women’s Day CBA held a Girls & Technology Expo and said it planned to hold similar events through the year.

A 2016 study by recruitment consulting firm Davidson Technology found that, of all IT roles in Australia, 69 per cent were filled by men and 31 per cent women. At the executive level, female representation dropped to 14 per cent.

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