How can a tech company play the gender balance game better?
I’ve recently become one of the Taptitude Girls, as a Content Marketer. And, as I found out in my first day here, I was the 13th (lucky, isn’t it?) girl to join the team, in a moment when the girls in the office got to represent 30% of the entire team, which is an awesome number for a tech company.
So, what you’ll read on is a story about us, girls of Tapptitude, and how we play a major role in helping innovative startup founders build sustainable mobile products.
It was a hot spring day when I first arrived at the office, after letting Google Maps guide me in the lovely residential neighborhood where Tapptitude office is located. I was a bit in a hurry, so I said to myself I will stop another day for smelling the freshly bloomed roses, that every house around seemed to have, curled around the fences.
The office space, which is actually a modern three storey building, with a nice courtyard and an amazing terrace on top, made a positive impression on me from the start.
Once in, in just a few minutes, I would had found out why next to Simona’s name you don’t get to see the usual HR job title, but, instead, “Team Happiness Manager”. Well, she had a genuine smile on her face during the entire interview. I felt like she was just happy to meet me and interested in my personal story.
Gabriel, on the other hand, the CEO of the company, provoked me at a fruitful exchange of ideas, about content and marketing in general and gave me the very first insights into how the job was going to be, when he draw me on paper a sketch of a marketing funnel. What kind of leader offers you a training from day 0, I said to myself, somehow in awe?
From 0 to lucky 13: the diversity growth in a product agency
This wasn’t my first time working in an IT company, but it was the first time working in a smaller group, of approximately 50 people, quite a change for someone coming from a company of 400 employees. This was definitely a bonus for me, because: Here you get to know all of your colleagues, not just the ones from your department, you have the possibility of asking and getting advice faster from people who know better than you, and you definitely don’t need to make an appointment for talking to the leadership team for any kind of inquiry you may have.
And, as I hoped, I found here a nice group of young women, because gender balance, as I found out, has been one of the principles that stayed behind the recruitment strategy at Tapptitude, as Simona told me.
From 2013, when Tapptitude was launched, the company has doubled each year in size. Let’s see what this growth has meant at a level of gender diversity:
Diversity is a network of unique stories
We think our girls are representative for today’s generation of fearless and strong women: women who follow their gut, study hard, believe in themselves and search for the path where they can feel accomplished in all the important areas of their lives. That’s why, in our company, you’ll find more than one type of story. For the majority, the story is just at the beginning and the real growth is yet to come.
Raluca Marusca, who’s been an iOS developer at Tapptitude for the last 2 years, came here in an Internship, when she was still a student:
“A real challenge for me was the internship period. I had to learn a lot of new things in a short period of time and also keep up with the work for school. It was hard but also really great for me, I learned a lot and I had great and patient colleagues that helped me and answered all my questions. On a technical level I didn’t really had a lot of experience before Tapptitude because I was still on my first year of university when I started”.
However, despite the great effort she took in going to classes and starting a career, she found great support and joy in Tapptitude team: “There is always a positive energy in the office and we have a lot of fun. A really important and helpful benefit for me (because I am still a student) are the flexible hours and the possibility to make my own schedule. Other awesome things: the team breakfasts and birthday cakes”.
But she wasn’t the only one who got her job after an internship. Tapptitude likes to offer opportunities to young people who have a good knowledge base, powerful motivation to build products and a great potential in growing. This was also the case for our Supergirl Deni, another iOS Developer who overcame her profound fear of not being capable enough of learning new things in a short period of time: “Learning new things in a relative short period of time is my serious struggle. I overcame this situation here by not being afraid to ask my coworkers for help and advice.” But once the “bug” of coding entered her life, she now secretly wishes for a new superpower: coding event when asleep.
A part of our team of powerpuff girls has an impressive years of work experience behind. Take the example of Andreea Apetroae, who is now a Product Manager and is coming from a background of 6 years in marketing. Everything she learned at her previous jobs is useful for her now: “Marketing experience taught me business skills, communication skills, strategy approach, metrics interpretation. Working in tech it’s extremely dynamic, you never get bored nor stop learning things on different domains, and the teams are really creative.”
You may think that a girl like Andreea must have her head wrapped around papers, all kind of technical tools and busy schedules. Well, it might be true, but she knows how important a good work-life balance is. That’s why, when she’s not at Tapptitude she’s playing squash, travelling or reading.
Speaking about travelling: our newly hired Research Specialist, Andreea Gherba has recently came back from Lisbon, where she lived and worked for 3 years. Those were some fruitful years, as she said, and added some more diversity to her professional background: “Over the years, I had jobs in many different environments like sport retail stores, non-governmental organizations, banks and now tech, which helped me develop the ability to quickly adapt to different cultures and people”. When she is not working or travelling, she enjoys spending her time painting.
Fearless are the women who change the professional trajectory and take a chance to try something that was not in their initial life plan. Take Roxana, for example, who now has 5 years of experience in the field of Testing and Quality Assurance: “I never thought I would like a job like this, but I love it.” Her background is in Social Studies, which opened her eyes more widely towards the dynamics of social structures and people psychology, lessons that she applies in her testing scenarios, answering more easily questions like: “what would the user do?”
Why gender diversity really makes a difference
Even in 2018, the Tech world is still dominated by men, but the gender gap is narrowing, especially in Europe, according to World Economic Forum. The subject has been well researched and, according to a new study by Morgan Stanley ‘s Sustainability and Global Quantitative Research teams, the number of women working in tech industries should be of great interests to investors, because the companies who do make an effort to increase the gender diversity have better revenues and returns than their less diverse peers. After analyzing 1,600 corporates across all sectors, Morgan Stanley found that companies with better gender equality tend to have better performances, a better risk management, greater innovation, higher employee satisfaction and retention.
The conclusion: “Tech companies that aren’t focusing on gender diversity are missing an opportunity,” as Zlotnicka says.
This is why, here at Tapptitude, we take into consideration two important approaches whenever a new person is selected to join the team:
- First of all, it’s about the core values. They must align with the company values, which are: integrity, sincerity, a growth mindset, staying true to oneself but also being capable of flexibility and adaptability.
- Secondly, from here on, we take the next step in assuring the diversity of the group. An important aspect in this regard is having gender balanced teams. In Cluj, the “Silicon Valley” of Romania, women have equal access to technical education and they are provided equal opportunities for getting great tech jobs.
When we do a new hire, the professional profile of the candidate matters a lot, but their value, passions, hobbies, and personal interests are also very important, because a diverse background may bring multiple perspectives in approaching a new project, fresh ideas when brainstorming and it will definitely help in building better mobile products.
Writing about women roles in tech industries, I remember of Margaret Hamilton (the pioneer who added the term “software” next to engineering). You may be familiar with an image of hers, standing next to listings of the actual Apollo Guidance Computer source code that she has written together with her colleagues. She was that great woman standing in the shadow of Neil Armstrong, the one who actually made the moon landing possible, by creating the needed software.
Next chapter challenges
Tapptitude, as a tech company, has been on its own growth journey, constantly striving for quality, consistency and focus. The challenges now are, more than ever, in finding amazing people who are passionate about building products and helping other entrepreneurs create value for others. These elements are deeply linked to the focus the company has had for the last three years: to be a product agency, and work as a product partner for our clients and partners, caring for our clients as much as we care for our own people, as everything we do in terms of value is really linked to how good and how happy we are in the team.
We’re not afraid of number 13, but we’re not that keen on it neither. So, if you resonate with our values and mission, help us change this number and join for the next chapter in this journey for making the world a better place with useful and enjoyable mobile products.