An international approach to supporting future leaders in technology

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For International Women’s Day 2024, we are working hard to ensure that opportunities are more equally available, supporting women in tech on their entire career journey.

When considering important events such as International Women’s Day, it’s hard not to reflect on one’s own path and be extremely grateful. Last year, I was a recipient of the SILVER STEVIE® Award for Female Executive of the Year in the Business Services category. I am sometimes taken aback by the wealth of experiences connecting with colleagues, clients, and partners across the world. What I have always looked for is opportunity.

Pioneering pathways in science and technology

In advocating for women beginning their career paths in science, technology, and engineering fields, like many senior executives, I am honoured to share my experience and path as an example. After almost a decade with Schneider Electric, I have found a place where my values are shared and lived, not just for executives, but across the board.

I have enjoyed senior positions with various multinationals where I could grow and develop the business, so it’s inspiring to see the doors open to young women in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM), at Schneider Electric, as they join an international company that is consistently committed to well-being,

sustainability, and educational opportunities as part of a strong community. There is a focus on personal and social development, as well as ensuring gender equity.

In every position I have held, I’ve enjoyed the latitude to develop professionally, even as I sometimes established entirely new functions. But no vision can ever be brought to fruition without people who are also looking for, and deserve, the opportunity to work, develop, and grow.

women in tech for International Women's Day

Empowering women in a global setting

International Women’s Day 2024 is another opportunity to make sure that the possibility to explore careers in every sector is available to every woman and girl around the world. That opportunity starts with access to education.

At Schneider Electric, we have established and promoted programs of education that bring real skills to people that allow them to forge career paths that might otherwise not have been apparent. The Reinforcement of Opportunities for Youth (PRO Youth) project has catalysed opportunities for more than 8,400 young unemployed individuals aged 15 to 30 in one instance.

This kind of program not only gives people a path to employment; it opens their eyes to possibilities and fires ambitions, just as learning and education did for me. And it is a lifelong process. Just recently, I completed a Strategic Decision Making for Leaders Program that developed my understanding of the speed and criticality of decision making in the digitally connected world.

That is why I am so heartened by the kind of women I see coming into our business now, who are not only fired to succeed, but are also bringing their values with them, driving us harder to do more on sustainability and social impact.

What is as equally inspiring as those who have positively impacted my career through business and technology, are the women around me now, from my colleagues in leadership, to our regional teams and more recent hires.

Championing diversity and inclusion

Schneider Electric achieved a gender equality score of 70% and was ranked 30th in Equileap’s Gender Equality Report & Ranking, Edition 2023. The global report presents the Top 100 companies in the developed markets, insights per country and sector, as well as key findings on gender equality.

Gender equality is held in high esteem by our Executive Committee.

As part of our commitment to embrace and champion diversity, Schneider Electric hosted a ‘Women with Purpose; Powering Technology and Sustainability’ discussion. Chris Leong, Chief Marketing Officer at Schneider Electric highlighted that: “Diversity and inclusion is a must for any enterprise to be successful today. We want to have diversity of thoughts from different cultures, backgrounds, experience, and of course, gender and generations, because we want to harness great collaboration, great ideas that spark creativity, and create innovation for a greater planet tomorrow.”

These core principles of celebrating our different cultures, backgrounds, our commitment to inclusion, as well as caring for our planet through our dedication to sustainability is what makes our international team reach for greater heights together.

Sustainability changemakers such as Erin Dierking, Director of Customer Experience, to Candace Becker, Client Development Manager, are all exemplar. And what’s more, they are united by the goal, and imperative, of sustainability, recognising the need for change, and making it happen.

I was struck by something Erin said, when asked about advice for younger people coming into the sector. She pointed out that your ‘day-one’ job doesn’t define your career. “Just get in where you can and explore from there. Don’t hesitate to blaze your own trails… many of our current jobs didn’t exist 5-10 years ago!”

Wise words indeed, as I think of the many and varied roles I have had myself, since my early days!

Nurturing opportunity and career growth

At Schneider Electric, there is a realisation of the importance of opportunity. There is also a pragmatism recognising that opportunity is not always evenly distributed. That’s why we have made commitments such as the 50/40/30 gender balance target and made it part of our key performance indicators (KPI). This means that by 2025, women should comprise 50% of all new hires, 40% of frontline managers, and 30% of senior leaders. And we are, through the efforts of our entire team, ahead of schedule to deliver. There has been a 10% growth in female hires across recent months, nearing the 50% mark, and the senior leadership team boasts nearly 30% female members, almost 10% higher than the previous year.

I was reminded again, of another experience from one of our engineers, Sophie, who said that in her class 20 years ago, she was one of six young women in a class of 100.

We can do more to ensure that women have not just the option to learn and grow in STEM, but that they have the opportunity to embrace a career, with the right support throughout. That is why we have Flexibility at Work Principles to empower and meet the need of both women and men to manage their unique life and work.

We engage girls and boys with STEM educational programs that value empathy, tolerance, inclusion, and collaboration. We seek to awaken engineering vocations and break gender stereotypes especially associated with careers in engineering and digital infrastructure.

And when people join us, we encourage them to join groups of fellow employees with similar backgrounds, experiences or characteristics who share a common interest in professional development, improving corporate culture, and business results. These groups provide strategic support in areas like business objectives, career development, inclusive culture, and community outreach.

Our leadership development and people vision programs power continuing transformation into a more innovative and digital company.

Embracing challenges and celebrating women’s contributions

There will always be challenges for people in developing themselves throughout their career. We at Schneider Electric are working hard to ensure that those challenges do not include gender bias. This International Women’s Day we celebrate the benefits each woman brings to our team – rich and expansive qualities in winning ideas, thinking, background, and experience that contributes to our business thriving — as a result.

We want to ensure that our values allow more women to fulfil their own potential in creating positive technology, and sustainable changes for the future.

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