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The dynamic team of women at a Hampshire IT Managed Service Provider are striving to change perceptions of females in the tech industry.

Recognising an industry-wide challenge, where women account for just 26% of the national IT workforce; Louise Gascoigne, Operations Director; Louise Bushell, Operations Manager; Sarah Tayler, Marketing Manager; Laura McNeilly, Financial Controller; Charli Stickland, Head of Account Management, and Andreea Oslobanu, Service Desk Manager, from Fareham-based Matrix IT, are championing the representation of women. Their advocacy spans from apprentices all the way to director level.

Louise Gascoigne said:

“The gender disparity in the tech sector is an ongoing issue. Despite a reported increase in female representation in the sector over the last five years, the consensus is that most women believe that the tech industry is heavily dominated by men, therefore are less likely to embark on a career in the industry.

Addressing these barriers is essential for creating a more inclusive and equal tech landscape, worldwide and we are proud to be steering the change here at Matrix IT.”

Andreea faced such barriers at the start of her career. She explained:

“At the beginning of my tech journey, people assumed I wasn’t part of the technical department and expected me just to log tickets instead of resolving issues. However, through hard work, I quickly gained the trust of customers and the admiration of my colleagues.”

Under the leadership of Chairman Nic Cronin, Matrix IT nurtures a gender balanced environment which represents a diverse and inclusive culture. With a quarter of the team being women, policies have been implemented to support traditional gender roles, including flexible working, enhanced parental leave for all and a menopause policy. This was implemented to create awareness and an open workplace to support colleagues.

“It’s about creating an environment where all team members feel comfortable expressing their opinions and ideas,” said Laura. “For example, as Financial Controller, I incorporate principles of diversity and inclusion into financial strategies and team management. This helps foster a positive and innovative place to work. I believe in valuing everyone’s differences and making sure all team members can share their ideas comfortably.”

Sarah, who joined Matrix after having her second child, added:

“Many women often juggle multiple roles and responsibilities, both personally and professionally. What many employers don’t consider is that this can strengthen organisational and time-management skills, leading to efficient work practices. But we must ensure that the opportunities are available in the first place.”

Such opportunities were offered to Louise Bushell, Matrix IT’s first apprentice in 2011. Just a few months after joining the company as an apprentice Infrastructure Technician, Matrix implemented a new management system—a major change to which Louise quickly adapted, becoming a significant part of the software’s integration. Today, she is an internal specialist. Louise has since risen the ranks to Operations Manager, and today supports the Senior Management Team with their new apprentices.

She said:

“Playing a key part in mentoring and supporting other managers is hugely rewarding. Without Matrix IT believing in me 13 years ago I wouldn’t be where I am today, so it feels wonderful to be able to play a part in shaping the future talent of the tech industry.”

In addition to its internal policies, Matrix IT takes great care in the wellbeing of its team members, encouraging a balanced environment in and outside of the workplace. The Senior Management Team hosts quarterly socials to fully integrate team members from across the Matrix IT family, especially departments which are less gender mixed. Comprehensive employee surveys are also performed on a regular basis, ensuring a deep understanding of the team’s needs concerning work practices, social activities, and benefits.

“At Matrix we have a friendly and compassionate working environment with a relatively high proportion of women, many of whom are in management roles. Due to this it doesn’t feel like a typical male-dominated tech environment,” said Charli. “This empowers me to lead by example, encouraging women to speak up and assert their needs, proving we can achieve anything just as well, if not better.”

The female leadership at Matrix IT have offered guidance to women considering a career in technology:

Louise Bushell, Operations Manager

“Find an area you are passionate in, turn up and put in the hard work. Set your bar high enough that it keeps you grounded, with challenges. It won’t always be easy, but the success and personal gain is worth it! “A wealth of knowledge and skills can be learnt on your journey, but happiness and commitment to a career you enjoy is key”.

Laura McNeilly, Financial Controller

“Believe in your skills and abilities. Don’t undervalue your opinions or experience. Encourage open conversations about diversity issues and how to create an inclusive culture.”

Charli Stickland, Head of Account Management 

“You’ve got this! Sit up tall, learn your stuff, project your voice, focus on where you want to be a year or five years from now. You may encounter challenges along the way, but you are strong, and you deserve a seat at the table.”

Sarah Tayler, Marketing Manager

“When marketing “tech”, materials should embrace inclusive language and imagery, avoiding stereotypes to welcome all consumers. Transparency about diversity efforts and continuous improvement in these areas is also crucial”.

Andreea Oslobanu, Service Desk Manager

“Follow your dream! set up high expectations, work hard, learn from any feedback given, do not be afraid to ask questions or to communicate with people. The Tech industry can be difficult, but you’ve got this! There is no right or wrong role for women, as long as you enjoy it.”

Matrix Business IT | Company number: 10099930