Faced with a shortage of female IT graduates, and a lack of women at all levels of the company, MYOB wanted to find an alternative recruitment process.
“We found women are not looking for opportunities in IT straight after high school,” says Tanya Windscheffel, MYOB Platform Development Manager. “The problem is that women have no idea what IT is really like – the industry is seen as uncreative and the perception of IT is nerdy men in suits in cubicles, with lots of pens in their top pockets.”
To address this issue, MYOB devised an experimental program to see if it was possible to teach people with no previous IT experience basic coding in 16 weeks. The company created DevelopHer, a ‘returnship’ program where, instead of taking on ‘interns’ straight out school or uni, they looked for women who may have been out of the workforce for a while or wanted a mid-career change, to be trained in coding.
The MYOB in-house coding course was devised from scratch and the course was made accessible by running it three days a week to take into account caring and other work responsibilities. “We know flexibility is very important for women – they tend to start off in IT then drop out when they can’t balance working and home,” says Tanya.
The MYOB team thought it would be difficult to get applicants – but when the project was posted on social media – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – it received 100 applications. Instead of an interview process, the team asked applicants to make a video about themselves.
Three women were picked for the 16-week paid, part-time program which started with classroom-style basic coding for eight weeks. The rest was spent working one-on-one with a development team member.
The recruits were not guaranteed a position at the end of the course, but all three participants achieved a level of competence and were offered jobs, with two working part-time and one full-time. MYOB now has a list of 300 women, including internal applicants, who have expressed interest in the program and are hoping the next intake can take more people.
“We’d love this type of program to expand across the industry – it was always intended to be an industry-wide project not just confined to MYOB,” says Tanya.
> Find out more about MYOB's DevelopHer program by downloading their case study below.