PwC's senior women in data dinner
02 November 2018
According to the Office of National Statistics, over 70% of women aged 16–64 are employed, increasing from slightly over half (53%) in 1971. Of those working women, only 22% are in senior leadership roles – a glance around the room would tell you that there’s even less in data-focused roles.
Last May, we decided to bring together women both internal and external to PwC to discuss hot topics, build community and share experiences for an evening of great food and even greater conversation. In late October, PwC’s Women in Data Network hosted their fourth Senior Women in Data Dinner at the PwC Embankment office.
On this evening, our academic backgrounds ranged from interior design, fashion buying, medicine, international languages and marketing and yet, we’ve all come together to work on numerical and qualitative data to solve problems. Hearing accounts from around the table on everyone’s journey to data was as wide ranging and unpredictable as unstructured data itself. What was quickly realised was that all, bar one person, had carved out a career in data/STEM without pursuing degrees in the field but rather out of interest and passion for problem-solving and as a result of opportunities in-role.
Could putting a focus on structured academic paths limit our thinking on the human and natural curiosity of data and allow us to read between the lines to scrutinise what the data is really telling us? Does a hybrid approach allow more commercial thinking? Is there a right or wrong answer to this question? You could argue both sides.
Similarly, we all discussed the challenge with building career progression for the technical minds who manipulate and code data. Typically, the higher you progress the less hands-on you become - is that the best approach to nurture and feed the analytical thinking of tomorrow?
Answering these questions is not black and white, but the one thing we know to be true is that there needs to be more visibility of women at the top. The Women in Data Network hosts quarterly dinners with Data Lake sized topics, if you’re interested in contributing to the debate, learning more, or joining us for the next evening, please contact Lola or Tayyaba.