Women in the Data Center Industry: to commemorate International Women's Day

  • March 08, 2021
  • Eloise Brown
 

Let’s talk about women in the data center industry

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day - celebrated globally to recognise the achievements of women socially, professionally, culturally and politically, while creating awareness of the action still needed to create a more equal society. 

#ChoosetoChallenge, IWD2021’s theme, is focused on challenging the gender biases experienced by women. Though this movement shouldn’t be limited to one day, we should be challenging diversity biases every day.

Female representation in the data center industry

Women represent a small percentage of the data center workforce. Exacerbated by an aging workforce, the alarm bells have been sounded to encourage not only women but young people to pursue careers in this industry to sustain the future of the data center industry. 

Celebrating the women pioneers in the data center industry

To commemorate this years’ theme, Datacenter People spoke to 3 influential women in the data center industry, to discuss their experiences. We’re proud to share their thoughts with our audience.  

  • Dana Adams, Chief Operating Officer at AirTrunk
  • Danielle Rossi, former Enterprise Systems Engineer at Schneider Electric
  • Nancy Novak, Chief Innovation Officer at Compass Data Centers
     

We’ll be releasing our interview series throughout the IWD2021 week, to celebrate these women and create awareness of why diversity is essential in the industry and to explore the progression that’s already been made.

Topics explored throughout the interviews:

  • What it’s like to be a woman in a male dominated industry
  • Advice for women entering the industry
  • What can be within the industry to attract more women
     

Each conversation provided an insightful and different perspective to women’s experiences in different areas of the industry, highlighting what more can be implemented for our industry to become inclusive and thrive in the future.

Data center diversity

‘Everyone will be able to contribute different ideas, which enables your business to become more rounded’, said Danielle Rossi.

Diversity is needed in the data center industry to: 

  • bring in different skills and perspectives 
  • attract new talent moving forward
     

Common themes 

1. What are data centers? 

One of the challenges in making our industry attractive to the future workforce is the lack of awareness as to what a data center is, even though we encounter them in our everyday lives. 

2. Women in STEM subjects

There is lack of women in STEM subjects, a common theme noted in our conversations with all 3 women. Many of us seem to simply ‘fall’ into the industry, which means there’s an opportunity to attract women into the industry from a younger age. 

There needs to be a focus on STEM in schools and Women in Tech from a younger age, to create awareness for the opportunities available to women’, said Dana Adams. 

Data center recruitment must drive awareness

Recruitment is instrumental in driving the need for diversity. At Datacenter People, we ensure that we present a diverse range of CV’s to our clients, making conscious decisions to help drive this change. 

The number one thing for companies to consider, is that if she can see if, she can be it’, said Nancy Novak.

Increasing talent pools of candidates is critical to diversity growth. 

1. There needs to be a push for representation of all diversity groups throughout the whole recruitment process, as well as an inclusive company culture. 
2. Many women possess skills that are transferable to the industry without any prior experience, which opens up more opportunities for women. 

‘We as an industry need to quit trying to change women to fit into the industry, we need the industry to accept and allow women to work with us’, continues Nancy, on this point. 

The data center industry is catching on

Improvements have been made to start to overcome this challenge. Companies have adapted their ways of working to become more accountable for women. Nancy highlighted that there is more apparel which is made to fit women, with ‘gloves made shorter to fit our hands, vests made for someone with hips and not broad shoulders’

Nancy continued to say that positions are becoming more neutralised, which is not only improving efficiency, but makes companies more inclusive as they attract more diverse employees. 

Dana Adams continues the sentiment saying that there is more support for women, professional networking groups and industry events that celebrate and champion women in the industry, giving them a voice. This helps push for more diversity in the industry.

Working together to make change

While there has been progress in recent years, there is more to be done to work towards equality. 

It’s pivotal that we work together, as an industry, to help drive this change forward and to challenge the traditional notions. 

Thank you to Dana Adams, Danielle Rossi and Nancy Novak for your time and valuable insights that Datacenter People will be sharing this #IWD2021 week.