Australian founded workplace solutions company Atlassian is making strides towards gender equality in technology with their graduate intake. This year’s graduate intake for US$6 billion company is comprised of nearly 60% women. This represents a massive increase on last year’s 17% women graduate figure.
Female representation in technology industry is an ongoing challenge that needs to be directly addressed, which Atlassian says they are working to do. Atlassian’s head of recruiting for the Asia-Pacific, Caitriona Staunton, said that there are many benefits to increasing diversity in technology.
“All of the studies show us that diverse teams in workplaces are just more creative teams. They’re better at solving more complex problems. So for us, knowing that there are those underrepresented groups in technology, it was about looking at the root causes and, in hiring, addressing those causes,” Staunton said.
Staunton said that Atlassian is focusing on three elements to increase inclusivity; early encouragement of computing to girls, eliminating biases in recruitment, and making work in technology a more inclusive environment. Staunton said that the company noticed that the gender inequality issue has arisen relatively recently, in the last 20 years, and wanted to address the cause of this division.
The workplace solutions company has increased their exposure to female university students by partnering with industry groups such as RailGirls and Girl Geeks that promote diversity in technology. Atlassian also founded a scholarship for Women in Engineering at University of New South Wales.
Staunton says that the company is careful to use gender neutral language in recruitment, and to teach interviewers to recognise unconscious bias, to remove recruitment bias.
This is a notable turnaround for the company, which found itself mired in a gender controversy two years ago when an employee compared a temperamental development tool to his girlfriend. Atlassian has come a long way since then, and the graduates in this year’s graduate program will be exposed to the inner workings of a thriving and profitable start-up. The company recently made one of the biggest acquisitions in Australian technology history with its US$425 million purchase of Trello.
While there is still a long way to go to encourage gender equality in the technology industry, this is a great first step from a prominent Australian tech company.