On 28 October 2021, Women4IT partner DIGITALEUROPE organised the Women4IT webinar: How to work with employers in skills-building initiatives? The event brought together international stakeholders: employers, women’s employment initiatives and digital skills training providers with the goal to showcase the Women4IT project and generate ideas for successful employer engagement in similar initiatives.
In the first part of the webinar, the consortium partners gave presentations explaining Women4IT’s purpose, achievements, and stakeholder engagement efforts. During the interactive part of the webinar, the participants discussed ways to work with employers and shared their own examples from their experience.
The event started off with a welcome and introduction to the Women4IT project from DIGITALEUROPE’s Project Manager Katarzyna Udała. During her presentation, Ms. Udała highlighted statistics on the position of women in STEM and ICT fields, specifically that only 1 in 3 STEM graduates are female; 1 in 5 ICT specialists are female and 1,6% of employed women are ICT specialists. During the COVID-19 pandemic, women took on more caring responsibilities than male counterparts, with 32,7% of women being inactive in the labour market due to caring responsibilities. The youth unemployment rate in the EU reached 16,2% in August 2021, equating to 2.833 million young people across Europe.
Following this, Vita Vītola-Lapiņa from the project’s leading organisation, LIKTA, explained the background of the Women4IT initiative and the tools used by both employers and young women. Ms. Vītola-Lapiņa focused attention on the successes of the project: 70% of the graduates having found jobs after their training, and stories like Ausma’s. Ausma is a digital media specialist course graduate from Latvia, who completed her training and secured a role as a digital media assistant, which through her dedicated work and perseverance, led to her going to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 as a part of the Latvian national press team.
Andrada Beloia from Fundatia EOS spoke of the close relations that were developed with employers in all of the pilot countries, through the use of the Women4IT strategy from the beginning of the project. Ms. Beloia highlighted the successes from the project’s employer engagement statistics: 178 employers have been engaged throughout the length of the project and 315 employers have hired Women4IT graduates.
Moreover, during her intervention, Ms. Beloia introduced the newly updated Employment Toolkit, which incorporates an updated women’s toolkit for finding a digital job and employer’s toolkit for hiring new female talent. The Employment Toolkit was designed to help employers through the recruitment phase. The Women4IT project gives employers access to a pool of already trained women who have been trained specifically for digital jobs. Testimonials from employers were also presented, following their participation in the project and recruitment of Women4IT graduates.
During the interactive session, the participants discussed ways to engage with employers, methods which worked well and others that may not have had the desired effect, and lessons from their own experience.
The methods suggested that worked well with employers include:
- Networking during events, during COVID-19 however, this is limited due to online nature of events
- Social media – for sponsored campaigns and for professional groups
- Personal contacts and connections – through HR departments, NGOs or Graduate Ambassadors
Methods that didn’t work so well included:
- Mass mailing communications
- Large, untargeted groups on social media
- Gentlemen’s agreements over more binding forms of cooperation
You can read more about successful employer engagement methods in the summary developed based on the inputs shared during the webinar.
Participants expressed their support for the project’s aims and their interest in bringing Women4IT and similar initiatives to their own countries in the future and implement them at a national or local scale.
We are very happy with the outcomes of the event and grateful to our guests for providing invaluable insights and contributing to our employer engagement efforts.
Have you missed the webinar? You can rewatch it in full here.