5 Ways to Empower Women in Tech

The Instillery used AUT Internz to recruit Michelle Edwin as a cloud activation engineer.


Diversity of thought will help New Zealand’s fast-growing tech sector seize opportunities, innovate and compete – with numerous advantages to come from our workforce mirroring the market and communities into which we deliver products and services. 

Creativity, innovation, better collaboration and problem solving are all proven outcomes of more diverse teams. There is also the undeniable fact that our tech sector simply needs more tech talent, full stop. 

Techweek19 included some excellent suggestions about how to attract and empower women. Here are a few take home messages from Inspiring Women in Tech.

1. Turn your attention to your recruitment techniques 

Recruitment techniques matter – they are one of the most important changes we can make. 

As the people doing the hiring, how are we acknowledging the differences and encouraging people to allow their best selves to come forward?

Michelle Edwin used the specialist recruitment service AUT Internz to find the right role when she graduated with a Master of Service-Oriented Computing with first-class honours last year, and was immediately shortlisted for a graduate role as a cloud activation engineer at The Instillery in Auckland. Having AUT Internz by her side encouraging her proved invaluable for Michelle, who has the exact qualities the company looks for in new graduate hires, according to her manager Corey Hudson. Michelle says it was nice knowing someone had your back through the recruitment process, “especially when you are just starting your career in the big wide world. AUT Internz provided me with great support throughout the whole process.”

2. Encourage women into senior leadership positions

Having women in your senior leadership team is key to attracting young women into your business. Amritpal Kaur is the kind of recruit many employers would be interested in. She graduated from AUT last year with a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours majoring in mechatronics engineering and minoring in creative entrepreneurship. As a student she founded AUT STEM Women and was a 2018 finalist in New Zealand’s Emerging Leaders in Engineering.  

Amritpal was recently recruited by Deloitte Digital as a platform engineering analyst and was a Techweek panellist: “We all like to relate to something so it’s very important to highlight those females who are doing great things,” she told Techweek. 

 3. Deal with the gender bias issue 

Creating an environment where everybody can do their best work is critical, so it’s important to overcome real, or even perceived, gender-bias. Make it very clear women are an essential part of your team. Five months into her new role, Michelle is right at home in her team and clearly feels supported to do her best work: “There is plenty of room for personal and professional growth and the leadership team here inspires me to aim higher in my career.” 

Unconscious bias in the workplace is the biggest problem to solve.

Mahsa Mohaghegh, founder of SHE# and an AUT lecturer at the school of engineering, computer and mathematical sciences recommends running workshops for your staff and if instances of bias occur, call it out to make everyone aware. “It’s important to share these stories with our male colleagues. We need men in the room if we’re talking about diversity.”

4. Pay attention to your policies 

It is important to have clear policies that include training staff across different levels of the business, having set values and encouraging gender diversity. Problems arise when businesses scale and great values get lost due to lack of clear policies. Systems need to support values through clear policy statements and staff training.

5. Commit to creating a diverse workplace

A diverse workplace means creating a better place to come to work and enriching what people do in their daily lives. This will be even more important as employers seek to attract values-driven Millennials and Gen Z employees to their workplaces.

That’s something new graduate Michelle, who was matched so well with her employer thanks to AUT Internz, agrees with: “I tend to be drawn to companies that align with my core-values and The Instillery is the place to be. I love the team culture here. Everyone is so real and down to earth. I’ve seen the team here celebrate the little and big things in each other’s lives while also encouraging each other to tackle challenging projects.” 


This content is created in partnership with Auckland University of Technology (AUT). AUT Internz is a free recruitment service that targets, screens and shortlists students and graduates for New Zealand employers.

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