NAB advances chase for women in tech

A new wave of women seeking to upskill in digital technology is sweeping across NAB with more than 500 female employees signed up to be part of the first NAB in-house certification cohort in cloud technology.

NAB is the first company in the world to adopt and run the globally recognised Amazon Web Services (AWS) ‘She Builds CloudUp’ program in-house, offering colleagues the opportunity to gain foundational cloud skills for securing an AWS certification.

AWS She Builds CloudUp is a flexible, eight-week, community-based learning program designed specifically for women seeking a career in tech or professionals looking to re-skill or cross skill. The program includes digital self-paced modules, and weekly virtual Q&A sessions with AWS Mentors, along with recorded sessions and shared resources.

NAB’s Chief Information Officer for Personal Banking & Digital, Ana Cammaroto, said women from all corners of NAB had come forward to take part in the training program.

“According to the Tech Council of Australia, we need one million people working in tech by 2025, and part of the way we can get there is by boosting gender diversity and getting more women working in a traditionally male dominated industry,” said Cammaroto, who is co-sponsor of the program alongside NAB’s Chief Technology Officer, Steve Day.

“There is a common misconception that technical skills are difficult to obtain and even harder to master –which in turn often puts many women off from even considering the industry.

“The reality is that many women are already equipped with these skills – they just need the right context and encouragement to transfer them.

Research from AlphaBeta, commissioned by AWS, has found that while there is a gap between the share of female (67 per cent) and male workers (74 per cent) in Australia who have undergone digital skills training since the pandemic, female workers are more motivated. 55 per cent of female workers who currently have not taken up any training indicate that they want to do so within the next year, 14 per cent higher than the share of men looking to start.

“Heading into 2023, our focus will remain on increasing female participation in technology at every level and She Builds CloudUp is a great example of how we will do exactly that,” Cammaroto said.

AWS Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Amazon Web Services Australia Pty Ltd, Rianne Van Veldhuizen said the program was designed to create a supportive environment for women.

“By encouraging women to consider a career in tech or evolve their tech skills we can help to increase diversity in Australia’s digital workforce,” Van Veldhuizen said.

Both tech and non-tech workers stand to benefit from digital skills training. The AlphaBeta research showed 88 per cent of Australian workers surveyed in non-tech roles who have upgraded their digital skills are benefitting from greater efficiency, 60 per cent reported increased promotion opportunities, and 81 per cent reported improved employability.

She Builds CloudUp is open to all NAB colleagues employed across the world and is backed by AWS. The program adds to NAB’s existing suite of technology and digital development programs including the NAB Cloud Guild which has trained thousands of colleagues in cloud and resulted in more than 4,500 industry-recognised certifications.

The Federal Government of Australia has also been a strong advocate of women in the tech sector. The Tech Council of Australia welcomes measures in the Federal Government’s October Budget to support investment and growth in the tech sector and get more people into high-paid, high-skilled tech jobs – but there are critical skills issues still to be solved.

“The budget will help put Australia on the path towards our shared goal with the government of having 1.2 million people in tech jobs by 2030, but there is more work to do.” Tech council of Australia CEO Kate Pounder said.

“We are pleased to see the Government follow through on its election commitment to establish the $US15 billion National Reconstruction Fund which acts as the vehicle for the previously announced $US1 billion Critical Technologies Fund, which if designed well, will play a vital role in addressing funding gaps in the tech sector.”

“We believe Australia has a once in a generation opportunity to be a global technology powerhouse, leading in critical tech fields that will be important to Australia’s future prosperity and security like Quantum, AI, robotics and cybersecurity.”

“Despite Australia having comparative strengths in these areas, we are significantly under-investing compared to other nations and compared to other parts of the tech sector where Australia punches above its weight, such as business-to-business software and fintech.”

“We welcome the announcement of $US4.8 million over 4 years from 2022–23 to develop Australian quantum technology through sponsoring up to 20 PhD research scholarships and encouraging collaboration on quantum research across Australian universities.”

“We acknowledge Minister Ed Husic’s continued strong support for the technology sector and his work on partnering with industry.”

“The TCA looks forward to the Government engaging closely with the tech industry to support the design of these important Funds.”

“We also applaud the Government’s commitment to invest $US42.2 million over two years to increase capacity to clear the visa backlog, supported by an increase in the permanent migration program and also to raise awareness of opportunities for high-skilled migrants in the permanent migration program. These were important announcements from the Jobs and Skills Summit and a good first step to overcoming tech workforce shortages, which are a pain point across the Australian economy.”

“Skill shortages in tech and cyber roles are impacting businesses across the economy. To get the most from this investment, we need quick action to improve the skilled migration system, including prioritising critical tech skills, such as cybersecurity, in visa processing and improving pathways to permanent residency.”

“Better migration practice is needed to ensure Australia becomes a safer and more successful economy.”

“While we support the Government’s investment in tech training and additional university places, we are concerned about the cut to the women’s tech workforce reskilling initiative. We believe keeping a focus on the role of women in the tech sector is absolutely critical if we are to meet our shared goal with Government of meeting 1.2 million jobs by 2030.”

“Women comprise only a quarter of the tech workforce, despite these roles being amongst the fastest-growing, most flexible and secure jobs in the country, with half the gender pay gap of other high-paying industries. So, we are disappointed to see funding cut to a program which had the potential to help improve these numbers.”

“The reason is that many women never get the opportunity to enter the tech sector because women working in Australia today didn’t get the encouragement to study STEM in school or university. In fact, in today’s existing workforce, according to our research, more women enter the tech workforce after the age of 25 than before the age of 25. Our research also shows that reskilling is a key pathway to get them into these jobs. Our sector offers incredible opportunity for women, and we look forward to working with Government to find a solution to address this crucial issue.”

“While we support the Government’s broader efforts to increase women’s workforce participation, including the $US5.8 million over 5 years from 2022–23 to support women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) through the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship program, we simply don’t agree that it is wasteful to support women to reskill into high-skilled, high-paid jobs.”

The Budget also establishes the Start-up Year program, which will provide income contingent loans to graduates to participate in accelerator programs and create more opportunity in our start-up sector.

“We welcome the focus on creating the next generation of Australian start-ups and entrepreneurs and will be working closely with the Government on the detailed design of the program.” Pounder said.

The Tech Council of Australia actively works to partner with governments to make sure every Australian can have access to a well-paid, secure, flexible job.



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