Women Leading Tech: LinkedIn’s Clare Rudduck On The Importance Of Inclusivity

Women Leading Tech: LinkedIn’s Clare Rudduck On The Importance Of Inclusivity

Head of Enterprise Client Solutions at LinkedIn Clare Rudduck has had a full career in tech which has given her first-hand experience with the industry and the insight to know what needs to be changed to make it more inclusive.

Quite often, when we hear terms such as “equality” or “inclusivity in the workplace”, we consider them to be vague or devoid of meaning. We don’t really comprehend the scope of this gap between genders or the work that still remains to be done so that we can reach that much talked-about balance in employment. LinkedIn’s Clare Rudduck is an advocate for women’s rights and in speaking to B&T, gives us the reality of the situation using dry numbers, which as we all know, never lie.

Clare also tells us about her own experiences as a member of the tech industry and shares her insights and ideas about what can be done to change things and make the field more appealing for young girls who are only now kicking off their careers and searching for what they want to do in their lives.

B&T: For you, why is it so important to support Women Leading Tech (WLT)?

C.R.: Women Leading Tech rightly recognises all of our industry’s brilliant female tech talent. At LinkedIn, our vision is to create economic opportunity for every member on the global workforce, with our values being to embody diversity, inclusion and belonging. Supporting the awards is how we are actively participating in driving change towards equal opportunities and acknowledgment for all.

This is especially important because when I attended the United Nation’s Women’s International Women’s Day event in March 2022, I learnt the extent of the gender disparity and the World Economic Forum now predicts it will take 136 years for society to achieve gender parity — up from 100 years pre-pandemic. Events and initiatives like Women Leading Tech can make a difference. This includes encouraging Australians to be more inclusive, embrace diversity, and collectively celebrate the achievements of women. We’re immensely proud to return as a partner organisation this year.

B&T: Can you tell us about your work history and current role and what some of the biggest challenges/obstacles you’ve faced are?

C.R.: As a fresh university graduate back in 2008, my early experience in the media world was that of a male-dominated space where I felt underrepresented. I lacked the confidence to speak up; much less to be heard. Two years into this environment, I met a male leader who completely changed my reality. He was supportive, encouraging, and had open communication with me.

Through his leadership, I turned a pivotal corner in my career. Some years on, I had progressed through five roles and two maternity breaks for my beautiful children. I stayed with that business through four name changes, numerous product evolutions, two offices and some incredible leaders. After 13 monumental years with the same company, I started to re-evaluate what work meant to me. I seized the opportunity when a role opened at LinkedIn because I recognised it as a company that spoke to my own core values of diversity, inclusion, culture and belonging.

B&T: What advice would you give to young women hoping to become leaders in a statistically male-dominated technology space?

C.R.: I would say: Stay true to yourself. For me, this meant being an empathetic leader, unafraid to speak up and be heard even when it is uncomfortable.

Throughout my own career, I have invested in other women and supported them because I honestly believe that the more you give, the more you receive. Whether you are leading a team, mentoring someone, or simply having a conversation, you have an opportunity to help enact change. It starts with all of us.

B&T: Being in a management position, what have you discovered to be the best way to promote and nurture women’s careers?

C.R.: As a mother of two kids, I found that, pre-pandemic, flexibility was not common practice in most workplaces. Working from home was largely perceived as unproductive, which significantly added to the mental and emotional load that working mothers were made to carry. This lack of flexibility — and the stress that came with it — prevented some women from entering the workforce and many others from returning after childbirth.

Fast forward to today, we’re seeing a seismic shift in what employees are looking for. Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend data shows that 73 per cent of workers want flexible remote work options to continue after the pandemic, and this isn’t coming from women alone.

As a leader, I have adopted this in my management style, and I chose to continue my career at a company that enables this. Leading with a ‘We trust each other’ approach allows my team, regardless of gender, to prioritise and manage their time in a way that benefits them personally and professionally while helping the business succeed. These last few years have taught us that creating an environment where flexibility can thrive means women will too.

B&T: Can you outline the best ways women can support other women in their organizations?

C.R.: Regardless of which side of the table you sit at (client, agency, or media owner), we all share the same goal — to deliver strong business outcomes. It is important that we work together, as an industry to retain our talent, knowledge, and skills.

At LinkedIn, our culture is based on a solid foundation of diverse and inclusive behaviour and this is evident in our programs and initiatives that support and empower women. In March, we celebrated both International Women’s Day and Women’s History month. Through our employee resource group, Women@ LinkedIn, we organised a collection of programs that speak to the behaviours we want all LinkedIn employees to embody. Think: Male allyship workshops, Learning from Career Breaks, Real People Real Stories, and International Women’s Day Trivia Fundraiser

There are many other tangible ways that we can uplift women in the workplace, such as:

1. Encourage women to go for it: Actively encourage women to seize opportunities. LinkedIn’s Gender Insights Report 2022 found that women tend to apply for 20% fewer jobs than men, which supports existing research suggesting that women often feel they need to meet 100% of the criteria while men usually apply after meeting about 60%. Giving women confidence and reassurance is key.

2. Have more options for women: The gender pay gap tends to widen when women start a family, so having flexible working arrangements can help them achieve a healthy balance between personal and professional growth.

3. Facilitate open and honest communication between women and men: It’s not just women-supporting-women that we need. Men speak far too little about the challenges their female counterparts face at the workplace. We can invite them into the conversation and have an open dialogue about issues like gender pay gap and gender bias.

It all starts with awareness and a commitment to act.

Find out more about the Women Leading Tech Awards HERE.

Tickets to the awards are now on sale HERE.

As an initiative created to support gender parity and representation across the tech industry, Women Leading Tech is an event inclusive of non-binary and gender diverse members of the tech industry, as well as any individual identifying as a woman.

Thank you to our Women Leading Tech sponsors:

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