Is it my fault there are no female devs in our team?.


I went up to Tech Talent Week last Friday - coincidentally the seminar I most wanted to attend was being held in the same space our new London team will be based - the fantastic 2 More London building overlooking Tower Bridge and the river.

Some great ideas from the Thoughtworks team - and I was excited and pleased to discover some of the formulas for their success in recruiting and retaining talent, we were already using at Sagittarius. Our 360 appraisal system involving peers and mangers - our new 121 system of working with our core values and our 3 week "all in company" structured induction, were already proving successfully for us (in fact our attrition rate was far lower than Thoughtworks)

However Meri Williams really got me thinking about what we all know is a hot topic. Why are there so few female IT engineers? Are we subconsciously screening out women at some point? And if so where?

Is it our web site - does it scream out to males and put off females? I looked and no, equal number of female images on here, in fact we have two women in senior roles within the company - 3 if you count me!

Is it the recruitment process? Are my adverts written to appeal to males more than females? I checked for gender bias ( No - my ads have a female bias.

Is it the interview process? I looked back at my metrics - actually I have only interviewed two female .Net coders in the last 6 months - one only wanted to contract and one was brilliant but had not quite the right technical skill set for us.

Is our environment too "ladish"? I guess sometimes, but on balance it also gets quite "girly" sometimes too. 18 male employees and 8 female so 30% of our work force is female, the office of National Statistics says 47% of the work current work force is female - but the average % of women making up a work force in technology related industry is 30% - so we are about right. However the fact remains that out of a development team of 9, I have no female developers.

How do we increase this? Meri suggested a start would be to find a really successful female developer as a role model -- and bring her into meet the team and speak to us about how the work place is for them and what challenges they faced and face. If we understand the challenges better and the team meet inspirational female techies - then perhaps we can develop a strategy for addressing the inequality. So, if anyone knows someone who would come and talk to us and fly the female flag I would be really grateful for an introduction.

I asked our developers about how many females were on their IT courses - and the number is depressingly low.

Question - how can we encourage more women to consider a career in IT?

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.


Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

Claire Battle Thumbnail
Claire Battle
Head of Talent
Claire is the agency's Head of Talent and is responsible for employee recruitment. Claire has a long history of working in recruitment and IT and enjoys working in a dynamic agency environment!
Claire Battle Thumbnail

Claire Battle

06 May 2016 - 5 minute read
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