Empowering Women in Data Centers for a Diverse Future

 

December 2023 – Empowering Women in Data Centers for a Diverse Future
In a sector grappling with persistent staff shortages, data centers—traditionally perceived as male-dominated are showing slow shifts in their workforce composition.

At DC People, the number of female employees has now increased by 15%, indicating a positive but gradual change in the industry.

However, this 15% figure sharply contrasts with the global reality, which is even more concerning when compared to the meager 8% worldwide. This percentage is even lower than in sectors such as construction, mining, and manufacturing, where men historically dominate. It raises questions about why, despite growing recognition of diversity, data centers still struggle to attract women.

While everyone seems to agree that a diverse workforce brings benefits, data centers face challenges in attracting women. This is perplexing because sectors with demanding and physically challenging environments, such as construction, have a higher percentage of female workers. The data center industry’s struggle to attract and retain staff seems to contradict the untapped potential of female workers.

There are various reasons for the lack of gender equality, ranging from the absence of female role models and perceived resistance in the workplace to a simple lack of clear career paths for women in data centers. Despite previous efforts to hire more women, the plans may not have been well executed or effective. Addressing this issue requires a multifaceted approach, including engagement in educational collaborations to inspire future generations, networking events, facilitating career transitions for individuals with transferable skills, and supporting career re-entry for women returning to work after caregiving responsibilities. Companies are also focusing on creating inclusive work environments, promoting diversity, and providing equal opportunities for career development.

Additionally, it is essential for the industry to critically examine past unsuccessful approaches and take current efforts seriously to make real progress. To address the staffing crisis in data centers, we must tap into all available talent, with particularly the focus on women. Only through these comprehensive strategies can the industry hope to overcome its staffing challenges and promote a more inclusive and sustainable working environment.

Celebrating the achievements of female leaders in data centers is crucial to inspire the next generation. By showcasing the successes of women who have overcome obstacles and reached leadership positions, the industry encourages women of all ages to pursue careers in technology without hesitation. Therefore, we spoke with Aliya, one of our female employees, currently working as a data center engineer at a global technology company and one of the world’s leading data centers.

Aliya… every day involves various activities, ranging from DCOM, BREAK FIX, inventory management to implementation. In my previous job, I collaborated with one of the world’s leading companies building digital infrastructures, enabling data centers to transition from hyperscale computing and storage solutions to 5G/Telecom and GPU/Accelerators.

How did you get into the world of data centers? I had experience with the full development cycle of modern GPUs, servers, accelerators, utilities, switches, and consoles used daily in data centers. With this experience, I was undoubtedly an asset, and at that time, three data centers offered me positions.

What attracts you to the world of data centers? I am intrigued by the theoretical, technical, and practical expertise that data centers provide for career growth. Moreover, data centers are designed to equip employees with a comprehensive package of IT knowledge and expertise that enables everyone to grow and succeed in what they do.

And, lastly, the journey of women in data centers and their experiences is similar to that in the broader technology sector. While challenges still exist, the progress made and ongoing initiatives offer hope for the future. By promoting inclusivity, recognizing achievements, and providing equal opportunities, the tech world, including data centers, can fully leverage its talented workforce. This sets the foundation for a future where skills matter more than gender, creating a welcoming and diverse environment for everyone.