Flagship Group is proud to be above the UK national average for the number of female employees working in IT; the seven roles vary from GIS development and infrastructure specialists to business partners. Housing Technology interviewed some of Flagship’s IT team about their roles and women in IT.
Starting out in IT
Rachael Leeder, an IT business partner at Flagship, said, “I never set out to have a career in IT. I was originally part of a design group, working on a new piece of software to manage our tenancies. I applied for my current business partner position because I loved what we had designed and wanted to be a part of building it.”
Julie Hulse, Flagship’s IT infrastructure specialist, said, “IT network management was a role that I gained during my career in the Royal Air Force a few years ago and something I thoroughly enjoyed, so much so that I left in order to continue and enhance this particular IT path.”
Abi Tassie, a GIS developer at Flagship, said, “While reading geography at university, I saw the effects that analysing geographical data could have in the real world. This is something that I knew I wanted to do in my career and something I have been able to do at Flagship, allowing me to run with projects that I think could be greatly improved using GIS.”
Working in housing IT
Hulse added, “I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with some really great men who are extremely skilled and amazing to work with, but the most inspirational and influential person I’ve worked with so far has been a female IT manager and I think that this is probably the case for some of my male colleagues too.”
Angela Sheridan, a Flagship IT business partner, said, “Working in IT has meant that I’ve been able to interact with different departments and people that I wouldn’t normally have come across and as such have gained a far deeper understanding of Flagship’s business.”
Claire Howe, one of Flagship’s IT business partners, said, “I’ve always been a bit of a problem solver and my role lets me use that skill across everything I am working on. I’ve also worked with various departments across the business which allows me to understand individual requirements.”
Sheridan added, “I believe the skills I bring are those from my previous roles which include a variety of customer-facing roles. As an IT business partner it’s important that we can communicate well with everybody, not just those in IT.”
Perceptions of IT
Howe said, “Unfortunately, in television and films, IT people are often depicted as socially awkward. This is certainly not the case and Flagship certainly proves that! I think people tend to think of IT as predominantly a male environment but I don’t believe women are stereotyped as extensively as the men who work within IT.”
Tassie said, “When I first started working for Flagship, there was a very traditional view of what IT did – if only I had a penny for every time someone asked me to reset their password! It was originally a very male-orientated team and, dare I say it, quite geeky. However, in recent years our colleagues have seen the positive results of the business intelligence team analysing data and using the results of that to improve our services.”
Leeder said, “I think the common misconception of IT is created mostly from what people see on television, such as the IT Crowd and Big Bang Theory, that it’s predominantly a male environment and you must have a certain personality to be a part of it. I still think people are surprised that a woman would choose a career in IT because it is seen as a male-dominated sector.”
Hulse concluded, “The perception of women working in IT is changing. I’ve worked in IT for 15 years and, compared with the earlier years, there are definitely more women in the industry, so it’s becoming far more accepted.”
Housing Technology would like to thank the team at Flagship Group for their contributions to this article.