More should be done to help women in retail and technology get top jobs – a key message from our recent event
Two women in senior positions in the retail and technology sector have called on companies in the industry to do more to close the gender gap. Amelia Kallman, head of innovation at Engage Works, is disappointed that 75% of boards in the UK don’t have a woman on them. “Women in this industry tend to be really hard workers, especially because we often feel like we have to prove ourselves, so always going that extra mile”. She implored businesses to employ more women at senior levels because, she believes, “Putting a woman in a room full of men changes behaviours and makes them work harder too”.
Laetitia Kotsiopoulos, Head of IT & Supply Chain at Intersport & AIS declared: “It’s still a man’s world. I often have meetings with IT providers and clients where I am the only woman. It takes more time and energy to show that you are credible.” She called on employers to be more flexible to help women start in – or return to – the industry. “There are many jobs in technology and retail where you have to work long hours and travel so if employers considered flexi-time a little more, this would be appealing to women.”
The pair were part of a panel session at our recent event in London, held at the China Exchange, which explored how small and mid-sized retailers could harness technology to take on the large chains and online retail giants.
They were joined on the panel by James Knowles, Head of Commercial Projects at Drapers and Samir Belkhayar UK Business Development Director at Cegid, with topics such as taking on Amazon, standout retail technology trends, and the retailers that utilised technology well were discussed, as well as the women in retail and technology issue. Prior to the panel session, attendees were treated to presentations from Retail IT personnel and keynote speaker Sir Clive Woodward.
James Rodger, our Managing Director, explored five ways in which retailers can harness technology to compete with the retail giants. These were e-Receipts, Cloud Computing, Business Intelligence tools, MPoS and Click & Collect. Matthew Carlton, our marketing manager, discussed how digital and social media can help a retailer increase brand awareness, drive footfall and online traffic, and boost sales and revenue.
England Rugby’s World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward then captivated attendees with insightful advice around IT and technology, citing a number of examples from his sporting background. “Whoever wins in IT tends to win’ he declared. “IT allows you to leverage your knowledge and understanding – technology is an amplifier not a distraction”. Referring to his successful sporting career, he advised the audience that “The key is that everyone, including the players, must be able to use the technology – not just the analysis team”
The event was concluded by Douglas Radburn, Development Team Lead at Purenet, who informed delegates how omnichannel brands and experiences can be created through ecommerce. Presentation videos and further posts about the event will be coming soon – keep an eye on our blog!