Melissa Fahey, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer, hipages, explains why it’s time to consider a career in tech.
The Tech Council of Australia (TCA) aims to employ one million Australians in tech-related jobs by 2025, and with many people reconsidering their careers due to the pandemic, there’s never been a better time to consider a role in the technology sector.
The sector contributes $167bn to the Australian economy annually and arguably leads the way in career opportunities, pay and benefits, flexibility and culture. Add to this that the gender pay gap in the technology sector is half that of other highly paid sectors such as finance or professional services; it’s a puzzle why gender diversity remains a weakness for the sector, with only around one in four technology workers being women.
So why aren’t more women considering a career in tech?
Melissa Fahey, the Chief Financial & Operations Officer for hipages Group, an ASX-listed technology company that creates solutions to help tradies streamline and grow their business, wants more women to consider a career in technology and to break down the stereotype that the industry is a man’s game. She advises women not to be afraid to transition into technology if they’re looking for a career change, knowing they can thrive.
Melissa says: “I started my career in private equity and am now at the helm of a successful technology company. It was the best transition that I ever made. There is so much opportunity for women to build successful careers for themselves in technology. But just as important is the impact that women will have on the broader tech industry – generating diverse thinking, which is critical to helping organisations thrive and equally represents the external audiences that these organisations serve.”
hipages Group has a diverse workforce including equal gender representation across the company and Board, and a no gender pay gap. Melissa encourages women considering a career in tech to break through the mindset of a glass ceiling and grasp opportunities that companies like hipages Group offer.
“Many women feel the need to prove themselves in male-dominated industries. Companies today have programs and initiatives to enable these women to enhance their confidence, tools and mindset to succeed and celebrate the expertise they bring to the business and industry. For example, we have Empower to grow our female talent at various leadership levels. We also run a STEM scholarship via University of NSW for fresh talent looking for a career in engineering,” says Melissa.
Melissa is proof of how women can succeed in tech. In just three years, she was responsible for leading hipages Group’s largest transformational change project spanning product development and resulting in transitioning to a subscription-only business model. This has driven top-line business growth, strong profitability, and positive operating cash flow. She’s taken the company to a successful IPO and been fundamental in the strategic investment in Australia’s leading prop-tech maintenance and repair company, Bricks & Agent (including a seat for Melissa on its Board), and the trans-Tasman acquisition of Builderscrack, a New Zealand platform that homeowners post home repair and renovation jobs to find a local tradie.
There’s never been a better time for women to consider a career in technology. The TCA is focused on growing the pipeline of skilled technology workers and pathways into tech sector jobs, with a range of reskilling options available to attract talent to the sector and help with post-pandemic economic recovery.
Melissa adds: “Women are nearly two times less likely to enter the tech workforce than men, while men are three times more likely to undertake undergraduate STEM degrees. That’s a huge missed opportunity in a rapidly growing sector, and I‘d urge any female thinking of a career change to consider the tech industry with lots of reskilling options. It’s never too late, and the opportunities are significant.
“Currently, only 25% of technology workers are women. Still, if we can encourage more women to open their eyes to a career in technology, we can start to make a positive difference. A difference not only in terms of career opportunities for individuals, but a difference for the sector as a whole, which will be so much richer in thought, in innovation, and in culture.”