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The SAP Services Industry Needs Women

IgniteSAP are celebrating International Women’s Day by discussing how to bridge the SAP skills gap bringing more women into the IT sector with equal opportunities and prospects.

As increasing numbers of the world’s businesses digitise and deploy their ERP in the cloud, the skills gap in the technology sector needs to be bridged. The Digital Economy and Society Index shows that in Europe there is a very low representation of women studying or working in tech-related professions, ‘with only 1 in 6 ICT specialists and 1 in 3 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates being women.’

Three million roles requiring digital skills need to be filled by 2025 in the UK alone. PwC reports that by 2030 the skills gap and shortage of talent in the US will result in a loss of $8.5 trillion in potential earnings.

Research from techUK has shown that 3 out of 4 young women are considering computer science as a subject worth studying but this does not translate into a comparable number of female computer science students in UK universities.

At IgniteSAP we have a community of SAP Experts who learn and share together. We want to actively help to bridge the SAP skills gap by supporting you throughout your career journey. Join Us Today.

The Number of Women in IT Could Double

According to Deloitte, 33% of technology professionals are women and this number is increasing slowly, but women are also more likely to leave the technology sector than men. If this rate of attrition were to be addressed in education and in the workplace, the representation of women in the technology sector would ideally match the global ratio of roughly 52%, leading to a 19% increased in skilled IT workers. Other studies set the number of women in computer-related careers as low as 26%, meaning that if true equality of opportunities in IT is to be achieved then the number of women needs to double.

This demonstrates that the gap in digital skills which is reported by 3 out of 4 enterprises across the world can be substantially reduced: by improving access to technical education for female students, and creating a working environment which is as appealing for women as for men.

This should be motivation enough for universities and companies to set aside historic stereotypes about the role of women in business, and change their organisations and institutions to be more attractive and nurturing towards women while also propagating technical skills.

Previously there has been a trend for women in the IT services industry to focus on “soft” skills such as organisational and interpersonal areas like HR and customer facing roles, but with the development of technology in every area of business these specialisms are now supported just as much by technology: as can be seen in the innovations of SAP successFactors and the SAP CX stack of solutions.

Structural Change In The Workforce

Vocational courses are particularly appropriate for the technology sector and both universities and enterprises need to reach out to each other as well as to prospective female employees in order to create career pathways for women. Technology businesses and organisations also need to make lifelong learning and career progression a priority for both sexes if they hope to fulfil their workforce requirements in five or ten years time.

Although many large tech organisations understand that attitudes and assumptions of the technology sector need to change, diversity in the workplace needs structural change to take root in order to compensate for a subconscious bias toward white male employees.

In our recent post we discussed what women (and indeed any employee) should expect from their employers: a thriving business, clear demonstrations of commitment to diversity and inclusion, pathways for career development and ongoing training, flexible working practices, compensation and benefits schemes that don’t undervalue the contribution of female employees, along with a culture and environment that welcomes and values women.

Female Mentors and Leaders

There has been a constant rising demand for SAP skills since the 90s but the pool of skill SAP practitioners is not being refreshed at a rate which keeps up with demand as experienced SAP consultants near the end of their careers. One way for this to be compensated is to encourage experienced SAP consultants to spend a portion of their time employed as educators, and this would ideally include women: providing role models and career mentorship for newer female SAP consultants as well as a source of crucial SAP expertise.

If businesses can be successful in encouraging the technical education of women then it will accelerate their efforts to bridge the SAP skills gap which is widening with every innovation and technological advance. As a whole the global workforce will be required to shift their roles and responsibilities as AI and automation become widespread, and SAP practitioners will be at the forefront of the massive global effort to deploy such technologies for businesses.

Educate To Innovate

All stakeholders in the SAP ecosystem can create opportunities for education: SAP have created initiatives to address the gap in SAP skills, SAP partners and customers can sponsor employees for SAP training and global certification, and SAP consultants can ensure they remain up to date with their own specialism in SAP.

SAP is embedding AI and automation in almost every portion of their portfolio so, along with training in cloud deployment of SAP systems, women need to be encouraged to learn and innovate within these specific areas of ERP technology.

The Next Generation

While the needs of industry and commerce will eventually force a paradigm shift in the diversity and distribution of the global workforce providing SAP services, organisations employing SAP practitioners will experience an acute advantage over their competitors if they educate and augment the power of the female portion of the workforce now.

The larger and more future-oriented corporations are already well aware of this and the opportunities for women in SAP consulting to reach their potential are multiplying. The SAP ecosystem now demands a greater number of women to contribute to the task of preparing all businesses for the economy of the future, and it needs female executives and role models to lead and encourage the next generation of women in SAP.

If you are a woman in SAP consulting and you are looking to find the right company to move forward in your career we can make that happen and negotiate the salary you should expect, so join us at IgniteSAP.