Norwegian technology entrepreneurs:

Men in their 40s

A new survey reveals that technology entrepreneurs tend to be scarily alike,– white men in their 40s. The IT company, Compello, has turned this around and increased the proportion of women on the staff, coinciding with a period of revenue growth.

Excerpt from the case in Dagens Næringsliv 22.06.2017:

Da jeg startet, var Compello ennå en gründerbedrift – og besto av hvite menn i 40-årene, sier markedsdirektør Camilla Bakjord i Compello (bak til venstre). Nå har it-bedriften 40 prosent kvinnelige ansatte. Avbildet er også administrerende direktør Gustav Line og kollega Anne Cathrine Gretland. Foto: Javad Parsa

When I started, Compello was still an entrepreneurial company and consisted largely of white men, says Camilla Bakjord, Marketing Director in Compello (back right). Now the IT company has 40 percent female employees. On the image is also CEO Gustav Line and colleague Anne Cathrine Gretland. Photo: Javad Parsa

– We were an entrepreneurial company started by men, says Camilla Bakjord, 38, in Compello.

The company, which develops electronic invoicing systems, was founded 20 years ago.

– When I started, it was still an entrepreneurial business – and consisted of many white men” says Bakjord.

But more recently, the company decided to prioritize diversity, both in gender mix and cultural background. Compello has spent the last ten years doubling its female share. Today, the company has almost 100 employees and a 40 percent female share. It is far above the average in the IT sector, which stands around 25 percent.

The management team in Norway consists of three women and three men,  business is going better than ever. Company turnover last year reached NOK 134.3 million, with an operating margin of 20 percent.

Read the whole story in the online edition of Dagens Næringsliv 22.05.17 – Norwegian technology entrepreneurs: men in their 40s here (only in Norwegian) >
Compello has made a list of 10 tips to attract women to the workplace – and keep them there.

  1. Make it clear in the job advertisements that you want to attract women
    Think about how you write. As an ambition, there should be at least one female with the final candidate at each recruitment process.
  1. Use pictures of women
    Use images of both female and male employees in the marketing of the company and its solutions.
  1. Use female speakers and female experts
    Consider using female speakers and encourage women internally to speak in public. Produce more articles about women. Use both women and men as experts and examples.
  1. Apply and promote women’s networks
    Focus on internal and external networks so that staff can benefit from each other’s skills across the organization. There are many relevant women’s networks. For  women in IT, the ODA Network is the largest (the Norwegian Association of Women in IT).
  1. Go for diversity
    Be a pioneer company that shows men the importance of diversity – and that diversity is important for profits, innovation and ideas, and increased well-being.
  1. Be visible
    Take responsibility and encourage women to be visible in traditional social media. Share, like, praise – lift each other up.
  1. Recognize good work
    Make sure women get the recognition they deserve for what they are doing well.
  1. Use mentor programs and provide guidance
    Guide women who want to apply for leadership positions – how to do it, in the application, and on the interview. Ensure that female leadership talent is obtained and supported by the management team equally with men.
  1. Show that we make a difference
    All people want to contribute and make a difference. The IT industry is a place that appreciates diverse thoughts, ideas and skills. By making  visible what opportunities Information Technology provides, you also increase the range of people who want to work in the industry.
  1. Read up on the topic
    There are many informative books, videos and blogs about women and management.

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