Sarah Lucas, Head of Platforms and Infrastructure, William Hill Plc

Back Sarah Lucas, Head of Platforms and Infrastructure, William Hill Plc

Why is Women in Technology an important issue for you and your company?

Recent research informs us that high-gender-diversity companies deliver slightly better returns, and they have outperformed, on average, less diverse companies over the past five years and companies that not only hire but also manage to retain more women put themselves in a position to automatically gain a competitive advantage, a benefit that extends to all stakeholders. When you consider this, ensuring diversity in teams is simply ensuring you give your team and your company the best advantage. At William Hill, we appreciate that men and women see things differently and bring unique ideas to the table. Creating a workplace with diverse teams allows for better problem solving, which can boost performance and ultimately benefit our colleagues and customers.

How do you think we can get more women into technology?

As leaders, we need to look across our businesses and identify those areas or teams that are less diverse today and develop not only recruitment strategies and retention targets but set inclusivity goals; all managers should feel accountable for diversity and inclusion. By celebrating female tech leaders in our respective businesses and industries, it will hopefully encourage more women to pursue their interests and careers in tech, increasing hiring pool diversity. As women in senior roles, we are demonstrating that others have an opportunity to succeed too and we should take our role modelling seriously. At William Hill, we are getting better at showcasing our female talent pool and hope that this will attract other women to come and work in the industry.

What do you think should be done to enable more women to rise through to the more senior roles in the IT sector?

The biggest obstacle for women occurs at one of the very first steps on the corporate ladder—the initial promotion to management. Particular focus needs to be given to this group, providing opportunities, identifying and nurturing talent early. If we can’t get more women in on the bottom of the ladder, it will naturally lead to fewer women being in with a shot at promotion to the more senior levels of management. We will never catch up. We need to ensure women of all ages and backgrounds have strong role models of other successful women and that women have a seat at the table or feel empowered to bring their own seat.

What’s your one piece of advice for younger people looking for a career in the IT sector?

My advice is to take risks. Be brave, if you want to find out what it’s like to work in a particular role, ask someone at the company, in my experience people are willing to help. Find a mentor or join a mentoring scheme. Develop and then use your network to get the help you need. Be confident, businesses need your skills and your point of view…. even if they don’t know it yet.