Tag Archives: Talent Management

An Expert Interview by Sara Micacchioni

Prof. Tamara Pawluk is specialized in cognitive diversity and inclusion. She has collaborated with teams designing Diversity and Inclusion campaigns and training teams to leverage diversity potential. Her professional goal is to contribute to any organization where diversity is seen as a key factor to achieve competitive advantages. Interestingly, she also works as Project Manager for Diego Romero Music to support her husband in bringing Argentinian and Latin American music into the European market. 

In early September I  met her in her apartment in Berlin to get inspired by what she does. 

Who is Tamara Pawluk in a nutshell? 

I am an interculturalist by profession and by mindset. I like working with people from different cultural

Headshot
Prof. Tamara Pawluk

backgrounds, I am a curious person and I like to listen to stories. I have the feeling that everyone has a story to tell and that even when they think it’s not interesting, I always find it fascinating. I mean, we’re all protagonists of our lives after all.
I also love learning, not only from books and manuals but especially from people. I love to be amazed by what others do in their professions and act as a connecting bridge between them. 

I’ve been teaching at college for six years. I love doing classes and helping people develop their talent and discovering their potential together. Currently I am mostly dedicated to webinars but I keep teaching within the startup I work for, Expertlead

I am  a very family-oriented person too and love spending time at home with my husband and my friends, playing cards or board games, watching Netflix…or going outside to practice roller skating (and failing miserably) 😉 

Can you tell us a bit more about Expertlead and your projects there? 


Our core business is trying to build a solid network of freelancers. However, we do this in a very human-centric way i.e. guiding them through a professional self-discovery journey and helping them plan their career development. We mostly work with IT professionals: front-end and back-end developers, mobile developers, software development engineers, architects, project managers, designers and data scientists. We try to understand what exactly each of them brings to the table and only then we do the matching. We don’t just feel responsible for ensuring that they get paid for their job, but we also worry that they are performing tasks that they really enjoy.  Besides that, we also do webinars on professional branding, CV improvement, train the trainers, stakeholder management, and soft skills training. 

As the head of freelancer management, I strive to help freelancers be the best versions of themselves.

One of the Diversity and Inclusion projects we’ve just launched is our blog series “Freelancing Women in Tech” about which I am really enthusiastic. We interview female freelancers within the network and discover together their success stories and obstacles they encounter in the IT field as women. 

You can have a look at the blog and at our recent articles where we interview a female iOS developer and a female software engineer

There is a lot of potential in IT when it comes to D&I and we’re trying to get in touch with other associations that might be connected to a wide and diverse talent pool. For example, we’d like to partner with associations for refugees that promote IT educational programs and other initiatives of this kind. If you are one of them, don’t hesitate to get in touch! 

Would you like to share with our readers the learning and career path that brought you to the position you so passionately hold now? 

Well, there are a couple of relevant episodes that really marked my professional development. The first was at the age of 15 when I got into an exchange program with people from around various parts of the world. Thanks to this, I got to spend lots of time with people from Tunisia, South Africa, Russia, you name it. Even if I was “just” a teenager, I was amazed by how much you can learn just by actually allowing yourself to be open to everything. That’s basically how I start to learn from people and about people. This marked me so much that it led me to choose my next degree, a BA in Intercultural Management. 

What other salient events happened next? 

Then I had the opportunity to work as a ghost in a haunted mansion at the famous Disney World Park in Orlando 😉 You might wonder what this has to do with what I do currently but…

There I had a conversation with a colleague of mine that really made me start reflecting about a reality I hadn’t been faced with much until then. And so I started getting curious about the topic of diversity and more in particular about gender and sexual orientation and the role that this plays in identity. This was such an eye-opener that I decided to make Diversity and Inclusion the focus of my PhD, creating a fusion with the topic of Intercultural Management.

Finally, the last piece of the puzzle fell into place when I met my husband who is a musician. I want to contextualize this: my parents are doctors and when I entered the field of Social Sciences they thought this was already weird. But what they accepted even less easily was me having a musician as my boyfriend. During this phase, I realised how important the role played by professional identity is in our lives. Now they love him as well as his music.

And so I landed in cognitive diversity, i.e. valuing people for the different ideas that they bring at the table and the different experiences they had in life. This brought me to Talent Management and to Berlin, where I currently live. 

I can really say that being part of an amazing team at Expertlead really enables me to bring together all the different aspects of culture identity in which I am a specialist.

What are the major challenges that you face in your industry? 

When it comes to Talent Management, unconscious bias for me is the main obstacle. Too often, I find that  people very easily allow their own prejudices and pre-formed opinions to shape the situation they’re faced with as well as the idea of the person they have in front. The issue with unconscious bias is that in a few seconds, you’ve made up your mind and from that moment you don’t allow yourself to be wrong anymore. 

But we need to change this and learn to admit that we can be wrong about the first impression. We need to learn to get rid of our assumptions, become better listeners and let the new information come in. This is especially important when you work with diversity.

This is interesting. How do you help people raise awareness about their own issues with unconscious bias?

When I encounter new clients, I always start with the most simple biases. I avoid talking about biases linked to gender, race, sexual orientation etc from the very beginning because they might make it difficult for people to let their barriers down.

I’d like you to run this small social experiment. Next time you’re in a group, just try to draw three boxes on a paper and ask three volunteers in front of you to write three words about diversity on the sheet. What happened? 

I can bet that now all boxes contain a word. But have you actually ever asked them to write the words inside the boxes? If you followed my instructions carefully, you did not. 

Yet, if you try to ask people to explain the reasons why they wrote words inside the boxes, you’ll see that they will struggle a lot finding the answers. And this is what a bias is about: thinking/doing something automatically and without second thoughts.

I tried this each semester for six years, and not in a single group was there a volunteer who did this differently.

That’s brilliant and quite an eye-opener.

Now, what education would you recommend to somebody who would like to embark on a career similar to yours?

Well, I’d start by saying that when you deal with jobs around Intercultural and Talent Management, I think it’s really important to find a good mentor. Follow someone in the field to whom you can relate professionally and let yourself be inspired by what they do. It’s not an easy-to-answer question because we, professionals in the intercultural field, very often have a different background. 

Definitely, here in Europe there are a lot of academic courses you can decide from if you want to study this at university, and having studied in Argentina where options are really limited, I don’t know even half of them. 

I am pretty confident when I say that the field of diversity allows for different career paths and allows you as well to find your own professional identity.

Certificates might open a gate or two but they won’t drive your internal need to make a change. It’s relatively easy to obtain certifications, but the most challenging and most important is finding the inner spark inside. Only this will make you thrive. 

What’s your recipe for success? 

Be yourself and be authentic to who you are. You’re never going to be happy trying to pretend to be someone you’re not. One of my mottos, and this is borrowed from a teacher, is 

“Never stay where you don’t want to be.”

Considering that you probably spend half your existence at work. My tip is, if you have the privilege of deciding where you work, choose well where you want to spend your time.

Is there a final thought you’d like to share with our readers? 

You might not be able to change the world, but if you manage to change only one person, you’ve changed a world.

If you want to be in touch with Prof. Tamara Pawluk you can connect on LinkedIn or write to her on Facebook. You can also subscribe to her Youtube channel.

Tamara is also busy writing her book on Diversity Management which she’ll publish in 2021. Stay tuned! 

About Sara Micacchioni

Sara
Sara Micacchioni

Sara Micacchioni is currently working as Academic Intern at Global People Transitions, where she is responsible for research and quality assurance projects. At the beginning of 2020, she graduated from an international English-taught master degree in Intercultural Management at the University of Burgundy, France. In the past, she also carried out several short-term and long-term voluntary work projects in Europe and South America.

Sara lived, studied, and worked in seven European countries and speaks four foreign languages. She considers herself an interculturalist with a real passion for globetrotting. In her mission to travel the world, she has now ticked off 30 countries globally.

Connect with Sara on LinkedIn if you want to talk about Diversity and Inclusion, Intersectionality, Cultural Intelligence (CQ), Bilingualism, Digital Learning, Immigration or Low-Cost Travels.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sara-micacchioni/

Guest Post by Artur Meyster

Women continue to be painfully underrepresented in many economic sectors. Unfortunately, tech is no different—women hold only about 20 percent of all jobs in technology worldwide. If we expand our scope to STEM education more in general, the percentage is still low: worldwide only 32% graduates are women (WEF, 2016). 

Striving to improve the woman-to-man ratio, companies around the world are looking to hire female talent. However, with women so vastly underrepresented in the sector, this is no easy task. Executives are scratching their heads, wondering what they can do to increase the number of female workers and attract the best female talent. 

The answer is multilayered, with changes needed across the entire educational and professional apparatus—from early education to the workplace. Here we explore a few ways to boost female representation in the tech sector.

Promote STEM Education 

It all begins with early education. Science, Technology, Engineer and Math (STEM) is still widely perceived as a male-dominated field, which explains the low number of girls who choose this educational path. Even today, only 18 percent of computer science bachelor’s degrees in the US are earned by women, according to the Computer Sciences Organisation.

Studies point out that girls tend to lose interest in STEM and related fields at around 15, which suggests that tech companies need to reach out to young teenagers before this age. For many teens and pre-teens, hearing about the job prospects in tech directly from a local leader or executive could mean the difference between choosing a technical or non-technical career.

Companies should consider partnering with schools and organizations in their area to speak to girls about the opportunities that the tech sector has to offer. But why stop there? To really pique their curiosity, firms can organize workshops where the students get hands-on experience in coding, web development, user experience design, and other skills. These events could be pivotal in helping young girls develop the analytical mindset the industry requires.

Increase Exposure to Role Models

The scarcity of female workers in the tech sector contributes to the low number of girls choosing a technical career, statistics from the World Economic Forum (2016) suggest. Exposure to more female leaders in the industry is therefore essential to encourage more young girls to opt for this career path. 

Schools and universities must prioritize the creation of spaces and opportunities for female students to meet successful women in tech. Bringing female tech leaders to discuss their experiences in the sector would allow girls to hear first-hand accounts of what it is like to work in the field, the problems they are likely to encounter, and the many opportunities available.

During these events, attendees can explore the main questions and concerns that women face, such as social expectations, family and work balance, and thriving in a male-dominated industry. These young women will benefit from the advice of professionals that have already dealt with these issues.

Access to Mentorship

Mentorship is key to support young women navigating important life decisions, as a study of young women that chose to join a tech initiative in Cambodia shows. During secondary and tertiary education, institutions must consider offering mentorship opportunities for young women who are interested in tech. 

This mentorship can take various forms. For example, the students can be paired with a dedicated mentor throughout their studies. Schools can also organize visits to tech companies in the area where students can join group mentoring sessions led by female executives.

Education institutions can get creative and consider events such as speed mentoring, where a group of female leaders is invited to talk. Each is given a certain amount of time, say 20 minutes, to introduce themselves and their work, tackle a specific topic relevant to the sector and answer questions from the audience. When their time runs out, another speaker takes the stage.

Talent Mobility

Many believe that you need to have impressive coding skills or be a math whiz to start a career in tech, but that’s nothing more than a myth. The truth is that companies in the tech sector require the services of many professionals with non-technical skills. These professionals can have very satisfying and lucrative careers in a tech company.

Compensation monitoring site Comparably recently compiled results from more than 14,500 users to determine the most popular jobs for people without a technical background, and how much they pay.

The employees surveyed came from companies of all sizes, including Apple, Uber and Facebook. The study found plenty of roles that require little to no tech experience—some of them complete with handsome salaries and bonuses. 

These are a few of the non-technical roles in high demand in the tech sector: accountants (base salary $60,249), copywriters ($65,976), customer service managers ($65,400), business analysts ($78,393), and marketing managers ($81,095).

The thing is that these positions can also serve as a springboard to a career as a tech professional. It is not unheard of to start working for a tech startup as a copywriter and then progressively transition into a more technical role. Some non-techies hired by tech companies are eventually bitten by the bug of coding, and start to learn programming languages and other tech tools on their own. Eventually, they may move on to an entirely technical role, such as a web developer, database administrator or SEO expert.

Get the skills you need

Whether you are a high school student deciding what to study in university or a professional working in a non-technical role, if you are considering starting a career in tech, you first need to acquire certain skills and knowledge. You have several options at your disposal.

The traditional route is to study Computer Science at a university or college to earn an academic degree. Many tech employers indeed favor university graduates, but earning a college degree entails a four-year commitment and a substantial financial investment.

A second—and increasingly more popular—path is to attend a coding bootcamp. Bootcamps allow you to acquire the skills you need to have your foot in the door quickly. In less than 15 weeks of intense, practical training, you will learn the basics of your chosen profession and be ready to apply for jobs. 

More and more people are choosing coding bootcamps as opposed to studying full-time at a university. This is because bootcamps represent a much smaller time and money investment and are, therefore, considered the smarter alternative. Compare the average cost of a bootcamp—$13,500—to what a university degree could potentially cost. Earning a degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), for example, costs between $60,000 and $70,000 per year, making the cost of a single semester exceed that of an entire coding bootcamp.

Finally, many tech sector hopefuls choose to teach themselves. Depending on how disciplined and able to motivate yourself you are, this may be the right option for you, but keep in mind that the accreditations you’d earn by completing a university degree or bootcamp can be very helpful during the job application process.

Seek Support

The journey is always easier with other like-minded people by your side. Fortunately, there are multiple organizations and regular events to inspire young women to enter a tech career and support those already walking down this path. 

Women in Technology (WIT) is an organization with one aim—advancing women in technology, from students to seasoned professionals. To achieve its goal, WIT engages in leadership development, technology education, networking and mentoring opportunities for women at all levels of their careers. The organization has over 1,000 members in the Washington, D.C./Maryland/Virginia metro region.

Similarly named, Women in Tech, is an international organization that aims to close the gender gap and help women embrace technology. The organization focuses on four primary areas: education, entrepreneurialism, social inclusion, science and innovation. The aim is to educate, equip and empower women and girls with the necessary skills and confidence to succeed in STEM careers.

The Women Tech Global Conference​​​​​​ is a virtual conference connecting thousands of women and minorities in tech through an interactive platform featuring keynotes, engaging panels, technical workshops, and a tech job fair with face-to-face networking sessions.​​​​​​​

Taking place in Amsterdam, the European Women in Technology is mainland Europe’s biggest celebration of the successes and innovations engineered by women from across the tech industry. European Women in Technology seeks to give women the educational tools, inspiration, knowledge and connections they need to thrive as individuals and become active participants in driving progressive change and equality in the sector.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Artur Meyster Headshot

Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.

https://twitter.com/arturmeyster

https://www.linkedin.com/in/meyster

Resources

Read the insights of the 4th edition of the Advance and HSG Gender Intelligence Report.

https://www.weduglobal.org/advancing-women-in-tech-in-cambodia/

https://www.comparably.com/blog/study-10-popular-jobs-in-tech-for-non-techies/

https://careerkarma.com/careers/web-development/

https://careerkarma.com/rankings/best-coding-bootcamps/

References 

Microsoft. (2016). “Why Europe Girls aren’t studying STEM.” Microsoft. https://news.microsoft.com/europe/features/dont-european-girls-like-science-technology/#sm.0000a046evm91crtzzd15dbmak88g%23O0g4dh2732ZlhJdB.97

World Economic Forum. (2016, Jan). “The Industry Gender Gap. Women and Work in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Executive Summary. WEF. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_FOJ_Executive_Summary_GenderGap.pdf

Global Mobility Policies are biased

Traditional global mobility policies written by Western companies with their outlook on taxation, international assignments and a home-based compensation approach do not fit today’s world any longer. They had a cultural understanding of a nuclear family and terminology from the Army.

We Global Mobility Professionals often sound like we are at war. We speak about home and host country, expatriation, repatriation or hardship as if our patria or home territory was the only island of happiness in the world.

We coined the term “home leave” to suggest that only “at home” we can relax and enjoy our life, while at the foreign outposts in Mombasa and Rio de Janeiro we are at war with the local population.

As Global Mobility Professionals, we are surprised that the stream of inbounds and outbounds has changed. These days the main expatriation routes are no longer going out from Europe or the US. We see assignees from China going to Switzerland, India to Sweden and Indonesia to Holland. We managed London to New York and now it is Casablanca to Mombasa or Caracas to Madrid.

A lot of moves and a lot of different cultural assumptions question the traditional models.

What is “fair” in a global team?

It is hard to say what is “fair” in a global team. Will you accept that your colleague from India gets paid about 50% of your salary? Do you find it ethical that your passport qualifies you to a better standard of living? Is the home-approach still feasible in a non-colonial, non-hierarchical and skill-based “eco-system”? Are we innovative enough in Global Mobility or are we repeating patterns of society that are as outdated as the suit I’m wearing to work today?

We’ve known for years that expats discuss their benefits but they used to do it secretly back in the nineties. I’m pretty sure now there is a WhatsApp-Group to discuss your benefits package by location.

Why should you believe your employer is giving you the best package possible? Why should you believe that the policy applies in your case when everyone up in the higher ranks seems to get an exception?

Generation Y populates the workforce. The “I”-Generation is more individualistic and used to instant gratification. This generation does not accept a one-size fit all principle. Policy segmentation is a start but I think we need to customize our proposals to assignees and their families even further.

Coming from an egalitarian culture, being fair and giving fair chances to everyone has always been important to me. Over the years I have learned though, that the assignees with the best negotiation skills have the best packages. Female assignees and assignees from less assertive cultures on the other hand often accept what they have been offered. Their request for amendments is quiet and not understood.

Senior management can request anything and often is it granted. For them “policy” is almost like a red flag that needs to be challenged.

We assume that assignees need financial incentives and that financials are the major consideration point when deciding whether to go on an international assignment or not.

We should consider skill development, learning opportunities, living conditions and extra services and build them into the benefits matrix. Providing these will also give more equity in the host country. I also believe that the classical home approach won’t last very much longer. Until we can fully customize packages we will need better GM Technology, engaged Global Mobility Managers and above all HR leaders with an international mindset.

Angie Weinberger

You might also want to attend the “Building the Global Mobility Business Case”-Workshop by Expatise Academy in Amsterdam on 23 JAN 2018.

 

We are all focussed on our immediate need these days (“I need to get this done NOW.”)​. When you run a startup this thinking changes a lot as suddenly you just need to do one thing: Make others happy! In that sense I sometimes browse through posts and share a lot of knowledge and insights via Social Media.

I have just browsed through this article and had to laugh about one sentence. I thought it was worth sharing with you and hope you like the post.

“From an organisational design point of view, GM is a subset of HR. But when HR went through a redesign, GM was left out, because it was regarded as being a bit strange and too difficult to do. It often has its own software, its own reward and HR policies, and so on. Consequently, mobility was left in the ‘too difficult to solve’ box, and we see that with our client base.”Andrew Robb, L​eader of Deloitte’s Global Mobility Transformation Team​

We have a lot to catch up on and a lot of work to especially around the interface of talent management, succession planning and Global Mobility.