Women in Tech: Isabel Kennedy-Beck

Women in Tech: Isabel Kennedy-Beck

Isabel Kennedy-Beck is the director of people and culture at be-solutions GmbH, member of the Accompio Group and a certified IT service provider for medium-sized companies in Germany and neighboring European countries. The company delivers client/server infrastructure, managed services, IT service/helpdesk and communication and conference solutions, of which Wildix is a core vendor. It’s headquartered in Grasbrunn near Munich, and it has additional locations in Essen and Leipzig. The team encompasses 40 colleagues.

Through her HR-focused role, Isabel has a unique insight into the role of work and how it affects women like her, especially in tech. Her own path in the tech world started purely by chance. We asked her what makes her day-to-day work in IT exciting.

“It’s varied,” said Isabel. “New developments in IT happen at a rapid pace that are driving forward the areas of digitalization, cloud, IT security and digital leadership culture. We achieve forward-looking and optimized processes by looking ahead to new developments, through new ideas from the team, analyses and mutual coordination, which help us to make progress in day-to-day work.”

The challenges she believes the industry faces will be very familiar to most MSPs: “Cybercrime, finding IT specialists, team cohesion in a more hybrid working world and, of course, the effects of political and economic developments in the world.”

Yet despite all these pressures on businesses, Isabel still sees times when she’s the only woman in a leadership position in the boardroom. “It would be good to see a greater proportion of women working in IT,” she observed. “But I see good developments at be-solutions — we have several women in the team here. However, even when I’m the only woman present in a meeting, we focus on the important topics itself, not on whether there are more men and fewer women in the meeting.”

The Workplace Has Changed For Women

This leads to a conversation about how the workplace has changed over the past few years for women. Women are underrepresented in IT professions. According to Eurostat, the proportion of women in the IT sector in Germany is 15%, and vacancies in IT are rising rapidly, with the German information and telecommunications sector (Bitkom) reporting 149,000 vacancies.

“Overall, the working environment for women in Germany has improved,” noted Isabel. “However, women with small children often stay at home to care of the family and the men go back to work full-time. Fortunately, factors such as digitalization, mobile working, flexible working and personal appreciation within a company naturally help enormously here.”

Options such as the choice of working full or part-time can also significantly help women, and so Isabel started part-time and later changed it to full-time. Of course, attracting new employees isn’t just about offering flexible working. Other crucial aspects include fast interview and decision processes. “Employers have to work on their employer branding to present itself as an attractive employer for potential new employees,” stated Isabel. “We increasingly rely on proactive personal contact by various networks, recruiting and trade show events, and general social media activities. Interviews are conducted in a personalized way, and we offer an environment with personal professional appreciation, development opportunities, team cohesion, flexible working models, home office and different benefits. Our application process is fast. If the decision is to hire, we make an offer within 48 hours.”

But recruitment isn’t a short-term game. “We want to get pupils interested in training in IT, which is why we have careers information events in schools and STEM events – to inspire pupils to train in the IT sector. Our trainees are the specialists of tomorrow,” she said.

Ultimately, UCC solutions such as those from Wildix give people the opportunity to organize their workplace and working hours flexibly. This has changed the proportion of women in the world of work. “Flexible working is certainly important for women with children,” noted Isabel. “Women who have children will be able to return to work earlier when they have the right tools – like at be-solutions – and can work remotely and cloud-based.”

We finish by asking what projects are particularly close to Isabel’s heart. “Employer branding for employee retention and getting new employees excited about be-solutions are particularly important at the moment, especially due to digitalization and mobile working. We also have exciting projects at be-solutions, which I would also like to play my part in.”

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