“Role models and visibility are essential”

Heterogeneous teams promote innovation and ensure greater quality and performance. Lucia Falkenberg, eco Chief People Officer, is convinced. In addition, the Internet industry urgently needs more specialists. In an interview, Falkenberg explains how more women can be attracted to the industry.

Ms. Falkenberg, eco recently published a (German-language) study on the working and general conditions of women in the Internet industry. Why does the Internet industry specifically need more female specialists and managers?

We simply can no longer afford to do without a generation of highly qualified women; we must use this potential now. To quote Kurt Tucholsky: “No success without women.”

On the one hand, more and more companies are realizing that heterogeneous teams promote innovation, increase quality and performance, and develop better solutions through a variety of perspectives. On the other hand, the digital industry is booming. Companies are desperately looking for skilled workers. The call for female colleagues is therefore becoming louder and louder throughout the Internet industry.

How can employers in the industry succeed in attracting women?

Important levers can be found in the area of human resources: Our (German-language) study on women in the Internet industry, which can be downloaded free of charge, contains many concrete measures ranging from recruiting to management development. In April, to complement our German-language study on women in the Internet industry, eco will be publishing an international study which will contain a set of guidelines for forward-thinking companies wishing to recruit and retain more women.  Watch this space! As both studies clearly demonstrate, managers are the most important drivers of diversity and equal participation of women in the workforce.

Role models and visibility are essential. Companies should put their female specialists and managers at the forefront in terms of communication and public image. After all, female role models attract more female applicants, act as mentors for their female colleagues in companies, and have a positive effect on the company’s image.

However, not only the women themselves are in demand, but also their male colleagues and supervisors. They have to encourage female colleagues in their talents, consider them for promotions, and create framework conditions that contribute to making the Internet industry even more colorful and diverse.

What are your three top arguments for a career in the Internet industry?

First of all, there are the diverse and excellent career opportunities. The IT industry is not just looking for programmers and developers, but also, for example, female lawyers in the field of data protection, or experts in digital marketing, and accountants who can crunch the the numbers.

In the digital economy, numerous new jobs and job profiles are emerging, such as Chief Digital Officer or Chief Information Officer. New jobs are being created and new departments are being set up at the same time. This means that when women hold such positions, they can move up relatively quickly.

Another important factor is the excellent compatibility of work and family life through new-work factors such as mobile working and diverse working time models.

“The principle of lifelong learning should be promoted”
© eco - Association of the Internet Industry