When It Comes To Chief Digital Officers Women Are On The Rise

When It Comes To Chief Digital Officers Women Are On The Rise
SHARE
THIS



Think women aren’t getting to the top when it comes to chief technical roles? Well, think again says Anna Frazzetto (pictured below) the chief digital technology officer at the Sydney operations of Harvey Nash…

The role of chief digital officer (CDO) is opening the door to the c-suite for women. Both strategic and technical, the CDO role is one that women appear to be fully embracing.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAb6AAAAJDgyMjBkYTRmLTI0YzYtNDQ2Mi1hZmE1LWJmNGQ2YzVmMTYzMA

At last we have some good news about the number of women in IT. As someone who is frequently asked about the gender gap in technology, I am eager to see positive results. Now a ray of light is shining through and, what’s more, it’s not shining down at the bottom ranks of the industry. Women are gaining ground at the top of organisations and inside the c-suite as the chief digital officer (CDO) role becomes more common and more central to business strategy and success.

The CDO surge

Not too long ago, the title of CDO was hardly heard at all. Today it’s an emerging role with a rapid growth trajectory. Just a few years ago, only a small percentage of businesses had a CDO role in place. Now, just two years later, almost 20 per cent of businesses have a CDO, which demonstrates a quick and substantial leap—one that took the CIO role a decade to achieve. The CIO role also appears to be much slower than the CDO role when it comes to embracing women executives. A recent report from Gartner revealed that only 13 percent of businesses have a female CIO while over 25 percent of CDOs are women.

Those numbers reflect what I am seeing across the business and technology sector. Typically, if I were to talk to 10 CIOs, nine would be men. The CDO ratio is more evenly split. Why are we seeing more women in the CDO role? What can other areas of technology learn from digital to attract and retain more women? Let’s take a look.

A more balanced candidate pool: Marketers

The CDO role is a strategy role first and a technology role second. An effective CDO plans and leads digital technology (mobile, social, big data and cloud) initiatives that transform processes, products and services to meet the evolving demands of a digitally savvy customer base. It takes operational, technological, financial and customer engagement experience to succeed as a CDO. And it’s that last factor — customer engagement — that has made marketing one of the main hunting grounds for CDO talent.

Digital technologies are delivering powerful tools for understanding, monitoring and connecting with buyers. Marketing departments, where the ratio of women to men is often closer to even, are embracing digital technologies and their leaders are gaining some of the key skills and broad business and IT insight needed to be effective CDOs. The higher number of women in marketing and marketing leadership, especially when compared to IT, has been a key factor in expanding the pool of female CDO candidates beyond IT departments.

The work-life balance factor

The digital career path is also proving to be more adaptive to professionals seeking to balance family needs and high ambitions. Technology has long been an area from which a substantial leave of absence is hard to recover. Because technologies change so quickly, it’s hard for all tech professionals to stay current when they take time out of the workplace. That has made advancement to executive ranks much harder for women.

But now we have the CDO and the multiple paths that can lead that position, from marketing and operations to finance and technology. It means women (and men too) who have had breaks in their careers can still make it to the top of the technology field without having to come straight up through the IT department.

Digital has more pull

Another key factor attracting more candidates of all genders to digital is its profile. For many new workforce entrants, digital owns the “cool” factor. Digital is seen as an exciting field that is driving big, important change through social and mobile technologies. Information technology, on the other hand, is often assumed to be where the no-frills, utilitarian tech work is done. IT is the department that keeps the infrastructure humming and the network secure.

Today I am seeing more young women embrace the digital path to career advancement, and I believe the higher, hipper profile of digital work will continue to attract young talent of both genders. Millennials were raised in an era where social media and mobile technology helped spark revolutions and change political outcomes. It’s a part of how they work, live and connect with the world. Fluent in Reddit, Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr, they are a generation that wants to connect to something bigger. I see the CDO role as a powerful leadership model for digitally oriented millennial workers who have the ambition to both lead and embrace the challenges and opportunities technology offers.

Keeping the CDO track strong

So how do we keep the momentum? How do we keep women rising and thriving in the CDO role while also expanding that success across an industry where lack of female participation has been the norm for decades?

In my opinion, it starts at the top and at the bottom. Up at the top, the technology industry needs current leaders to mentor rising stars to provide career path support and guidance and to initiate cross-organizational discussions and programs that nurture future CDOs, CIOs and CTOs. In addition, businesses should look at increasing workplace flexibility and re-entry training for those who have taken time out of the workplace.

At the bottom, it’s about working with colleges and high schools—even middles schools—to get young women engaged in technology and business leadership programs. Take advantage of the dynamic profile digital has right now and market technology careers to young women and men. Internships should be made available to high school as well as college students as those who get an early foot in the door can turn into some of the most loyal, productive and ambitious employees a company has. Besides, getting tech-brilliant students into the workplace gives both businesses and interns insight into how business and technology work together.

Over the past 12 months, there has been huge increase in demand for digital skills, and that trend is expected to continue and strengthen. It’s a powerful opportunity for women with technology and business skills to embrace leadership roles and drive transformative business change as the composition of IT leadership transforms and diversifies for the better.

This opinion piece originally appeared on B&T’s sister business site www.which-50.com

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

State Vs State: Which Aussies Travel The Most?
  • Marketing

State Vs State: Which Aussies Travel The Most?

Australians from NSW and the ACT take first place when it comes to travelling overseas, whereas Queenslanders are the keenest on domestic trips, according to new research from global online travel booking platform agoda. The Travel and Tech Study found those in NSW and ACT took an average of 4.8 trips in the last 12 […]

How The AFL Won The Social Media Grand Final (But The NRL Scored With Macklemore)
  • Marketing
  • Media

How The AFL Won The Social Media Grand Final (But The NRL Scored With Macklemore)

As AFL’s Richmond Tigers and NRL’s Melbourne Storm bask in the glory of their Premiership victories, another war was waging across social media. Sports social content platform 20FOUR today revealed the winner in the battle of the footy codes, declaring the AFL victorious over the NRL in audience engagement during this year’s grand final. Just over 3.5 million people tuned in to watch the […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Chris Gayle Claims Fairfax Journo Was Out To “Destroy” Him In Defamation Case
  • Media

Chris Gayle Claims Fairfax Journo Was Out To “Destroy” Him In Defamation Case

West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle has told his Sydney defamation trial against Fairfax Media today that one of its journalists was out to “destroy” him following a series of articles in The Age that alleged he exposed his genitals to a female masseuse during the Cricket World Cup in Australia in 2015. In the NSW Supreme Court today, […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Female Industry Leaders To Help Launch Unique Walking Tribe In Melbourne
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Female Industry Leaders To Help Launch Unique Walking Tribe In Melbourne

After successfully launching in Sydney and Brisbane in the past year, Mentor Walks has announced it is expanding to Melbourne with the help of some female industry leaders. How Mentor Walks works is through a small group of senior female executive leaders who agree that, when they are available, will be part of a monthly […]

App Annie Announces New Managing Director For APAC
  • Technology

App Annie Announces New Managing Director For APAC

App market data and analytics company App Annie has announced the appointment of Cindy Deng as its new managing director for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Deng joins App Annie with more than 18 years’ experience in enterprise IT, digital advertising, data analytics, and data management. In her most recent role at Turn, she was responsible […]

New Editor For GQ Australia
  • Media

New Editor For GQ Australia

Unfortunately, it's no more Lowes or Roger David for Michael Christensen after being named fashion organ's top tamale.

QMS Goes West With ‘The Leeder’
  • Advertising
  • Media

QMS Goes West With ‘The Leeder’

QMS Media continues to expand its digital portfolio across Western Australia, switching on an iconic billboard in the heart of Perth. Following the launch of two new digital billboards in the major WA regional centres of Bunbury and Kalgoorlie in recent months, ‘The Leeder’ further delivers on QMS’ digital expansion strategy out west. Positioned at […]

PR Firm Text100 Wins NetApp Account For APAC
  • Marketing

PR Firm Text100 Wins NetApp Account For APAC

Global marketing communications agency Text100 has announced it been appointed by data management company NetApp to drive its brand transformation effort across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Following local competitive pitches conducted across the region, Text100 has been appointed as the APAC lead agency out of Singapore, and as the local agency of record in Australia, […]

MFA Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

MFA Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!

B&T once again donned the tux, applied the Brut, and primed the liver for last night's MFA Awards in Sydney.

Concrete Playground Launches Voice-activated Nightlife Guide With Google Assistant
  • Media
  • Technology

Concrete Playground Launches Voice-activated Nightlife Guide With Google Assistant

Digital publisher Concrete Playground has unveiled a new app that helps Millennials plan their night out using voice control – the first of its kind to become available in Australia. Concrete Playground’s Guide to Tonight now works with Google Assistant, making it available on a range of Google devices and helping people to decide what […]

Digital Agency Inlight Secures Two Key Client Wins
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Digital Agency Inlight Secures Two Key Client Wins

Independent agency Inlight has announced it has won the digital account for Benetas, a not-for-profit aged care provider in Victoria. Following a competitive pitch process, Inlight was chosen to handle Benetas’ new website design, build and ongoing optimisation. Richard Barker, marketing manager at Benetas, said: “We wanted an agency that could be our true digital […]

AMI Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!
  • Marketing

AMI Awards 2017 Winners Revealed!

With almost 30 awards handed out, B&T predicts plenty of numb bottoms at last night's AMI Awards in Melbourne.

Clems Sydney CEO Andy Pontin Quits
  • Advertising

Clems Sydney CEO Andy Pontin Quits

Sure, B&T flashed the news of Andy Pontin quitting this morning. White lies aside, he's actually still got six months.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Adobe MAXes Most Creatives In A Room Record
  • Advertising
  • Media

Adobe MAXes Most Creatives In A Room Record

B&T's journo is reporting live from the annual Adobe Summit in Vegas. Although, "reporting" is somewhat of a stretch.

Opinion

by David Hovenden

David Hovenden
Digital Women’s Network & The Australian College Of Marketing Unveil Latest Short Courses
  • Marketing

Digital Women’s Network & The Australian College Of Marketing Unveil Latest Short Courses

The Australian College of Marketing is collaborating with the Digital Women’s Network to bring new short courses aimed to provide the latest skills across all aspects of the Digital landscape, kicking off in Melbourne and Sydney in 2018. Course content will focus around various topics related to the digital marketing landscape. All courses will run […]

Man working at office desk, looking at computer and scratching head
  • Technology

Where Are Digital & Tech Skills & Salaries Headed?

The rapid pace of technological change in the digital sector is seeing demand for those with the right skill sets outstrip availability, both locally and globally. The individuals who have kept their skills up to date are being well-rewarded financially. Now, Digital + Technology Collective’s expanded annual Skills and Salary Survey will put some numbers and context […]

Disney & ESPN Unify Sales & Partnerships Teams
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Disney & ESPN Unify Sales & Partnerships Teams

Disney and ESPN have formed an even closer bond, announcing a new alignment of the two properties through their media sales and partnerships teams. Instead of entering through three doors, Disney ESPN Media Sales & Partnerships will give media buyers and marketers a refined, singular point of entry for Disney, ESPN Digital and Maker. Nik […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Sydney Start-up Muzaara Partners With Commission Factory To Turbocharge Digital Ad Spends
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Sydney Start-up Muzaara Partners With Commission Factory To Turbocharge Digital Ad Spends

Sydney-based adtech start-up Muzaara has announced a new strategic partnership with performance marketing platform Commission Factory. Together, Muzaara and Commision Factory are providing SMEs with a secret weapon to skyrocket their online brand visibility and effectively manage and maximise their online advertising campaigns. This partnership will allow both online marketing companies and their impressive roster […]