Aussie graphic design platform Canva and comparison site Finder have both recently inked agreements with social impact business Project F, signing up to a strategic program to address the gender gap in tech, and the female representation in their tech teams.
Program 50/50, which Canva commenced in November and Finder in March, is a unique initiative that goes far beyond the traditional diversity and inclusion measures generally used in companies around the world.
Project F Founder and CEO Emma Jones describes Program 50/50 as a transformative but long-term play that, importantly, is sponsored by executive leadership to drive accountability and sustainability of the program’s outcomes.
“Improving the representation of women in tech is a strategic imperative requiring real buy-in from the founders and CEOs of these businesses to ensure real change. A lift and shift of other gender diversity programs have proven to be ineffective in tech due to the industry’s unique historically -tricky subculture. Taking the current landscape into consideration, a post-pandemic world is likely to see women even further marginalised from the tech industry if no direct action is taken,” said Jones.
To reduce the number of women leaving the sector, Project F surveyed over 1300 tech women to understand how their professional priorities differ from women in other vocations (such as HR or marketing) and uncovered the factors that commonly derail career longevity and ability to reach leadership levels in the sector.
Pay equity ranked the highest priority, where for other women outside of tech it is parental leave. This isn’t because women in tech careers don’t value parental leave (it featured sixth) but because the pay gap in tech is 7% higher than the national average.
Finder co-founder Frank Restuccia said, “Our mission is to help the world make better decisions and that means supporting a very varied set of decision-makers around the world. We’re proud to have a diverse crew in over 20 countries working on achieving this and have actively sought to create and nurture an inclusive environment at Finder where every person can thrive and do the best work of their careers.
“Project F’s program is helping Finder execute on this strategy with insights and a program to help us further develop this culture. I am excited to work collaboratively on this important topic with Emma and Project F.”
Rick Goodfellow, Canva’s Engineering Talent Acquisition Lead, was instrumental in bringing Project F’s solution into Canva.
“To ensure we continue to evolve our product offering to be the best in breed it is important we have the right people at the helm. Our culture is the very backbone to our success and we pride ourselves on our diversity and inclusion mechanisms; the implementation of Project F’s Program 50/50 keeps us ahead of the curve and accountable to maintaining a gender diverse and equal opportunity workplace,” said Goodfellow.
Project F’s Jones says she’s both delighted yet somewhat unsurprised by Canva and Finder’s adoption of Program 50/50.
“Canva has been a first-mover with many things in the tech space and both of these company’s founding teams care deeply about the culture they’re building. It makes sense that they would continue to strive for diversity in the teams that are building their products. We’re very excited to be working with them” she says.
Work on Project F’s Program 50/50 is well underway and both Canva and Finder have teams assigned to manage the participation.