In July 2016, SYKES Costa Rica publicly committed to work in favor of gender equity. The program SWIT, ¨SYKES Women In Technology¨, was designed and announced to authorities of the Government, UN Women, and other key actors of the industry, as a gender-equity program to develop talent for technical accounts supported locally.
The program promotes and facilitates the inclusion of women in technical accounts where female participation has been traditionally low. It also provides scholarships to female collaborators from non-technical accounts to develop the necessary skills to opt for technical positions within the organization.
In line with global trends, where developed countries report no more than 15% of women in STEAM areas, back then, SYKES registered 13.5% of women in technical accounts. For this reason, the company decided to design not only a strategy to promote inclusion by enrolling women in its Technical Academy but also committed to increase jobs participation to 40% by end of 2021.
Since the program opened doors, the company has increased female enrollment in nearly 1000% as the number of students moved from 30+ to over 300 women in class each quarter for the last 2 years. It also increased female participation in technical accounts as more than 250 women have been promoted, reaching 24% of the 1500+ existent jobs in August 2020.
The objectives set by the company are:
- Parity: To promote and facilitate gender equity in technical accounts where female participation is traditionally low and empower them to learn more about high technology to increase their job options.
- Retention: To motivate and promote technology as a solid option to professionally grow within the organization and extend tenure in non-technical accounts as they acquire new knowledge.
- Sustainability: To increase the enrollment of women in the Tech Academy to feed an internal pipeline that will provide more qualified candidates to satisfy the demand that local accounts and markets generate.
- Social mobility: To strengthen the social development dimension by attracting more skilled women into technology and, consequently, enabling women to opt for new job options in technology fields.
- Alignment: To line up efforts to UN 2030 Development Objectives as well as pairing current and potential clients´ strategic objectives related to gender equity and inclusion, especially logos from the technology fields.
- Finally, the program was adopted by SYKES Colombia in 2017 and implementations in other countries are about to be explored.
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About the author:
Roy Mena is the Corporate Affairs Director for SYKES Costa Rica since 2013. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Roy is the company’s spokesperson and head of public relations. He supports business development work and manages multiple public-private alliances with government entities in favor of social impact and development of skills for business sustainability, and the strengthening of the services sector in the country.
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