In the Netherlands, we have seen progress across many industries when it comes to gender representation in leadership. However, the industry of data science and analytics continues to be lagging behind. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), “as few as 15% of data scientists [globally] today are women”. The BCG raises the issue that a lack of diversity in the industry could create potential bias in programming algorithms, among other concerns.
The low ratio of women to men in the industry starts at the education level. In recent research from UNESCO, and as quoted by CGD, only 30 percent of female students globally choose STEM-related subjects in higher education. Women at the top of data-driven careers must then be part of the cycle of change, encouraging and mentoring younger generations to explore opportunities.
At Experian here in the Netherlands, we currently have three women sitting in senior leadership positions on the team. We are looking to open more doors for women in the fields of data science and data analytics – where historically, there has been less representation.
In addition, this year we released our Future of Work policies in response to the workplace shifts seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, which allow more flexible working schedules. These policies support all employees, but particularly women in the industry, who often hold further childcare responsibilities in the home.
Insight on the future of work and women in data science industries from some of our leaders at Experian Netherlands:
“Engaging women in STEM begins at a young age. Women are outnumbered in STEM careers often because they are not encouraged to choose STEM courses during their time in school. It is critical for female leaders currently in data science and data analytics, or other major STEM streams, to mentor and connect with younger generations of women. We must show them the multiple paths forward in these industries and encourage them to pursue a career that is backed in mathematics or science. These will no longer be solely male-dominated industries, and the changes begin with mentorship of our young generations.”
- Maryna Russell, Sales Director, Experian Netherlands
“The pandemic has showcased that an effective hybrid working model is possible. While not all roles at Experian work from home, we recognise the need of offering benefits that support a flexible work-life balance. According to Verizon’s recent Business Women in the Workplace survey, ‘68% of women who voluntarily left the workforce due to the pandemic, say burnout was a driving factor’. Especially as women tend to take on more of the emotional labour in their personal lives – such as homecare and childcare – having flexible work schedules that value productivity over presenteeism are key to success. Our view on the future of work is also a key factor in supporting and retaining our dynamic female workforce at Experian and keeping women thriving in STEM careers.”
- Floor Boswinkel, HR Director, Experian Netherlands
“In the field of data science, the number of men still greatly outnumbers women. However, diversity is vital to success when examining data and programming AI algorithms, especially as this helps to deflect certain bias. Companies with data science and analytics as a focus, have a responsibility to begin supporting women in STEM careers with resources and opportunities to “get a foot in the door” of a career. It is such a privilege to say that three of our senior leadership team members at Experian Netherlands are women, and we plan to continue to bridge the gender divide.”
- Veronica Flyckt, Managing Director, Experian Netherlands