At CA Technologies, our mission is to eliminate the barriers between ideas and outcomes – because we believe technology can help solve the world’s most pressing challenges. The exponential advance of technology brings tremendous potential to benefit and shape every area of society. From enabling people in the remotest parts of the world to access a quality education, to accelerating ground-breaking discoveries in scientific research, and taking productivity across every industry to a whole new level. As technology advances, with it comes a vision of vibrant economies, underpinned by safe and secure societies. However, this vision of tomorrow can only be created through our actions of today – by investing in the next generation through a shared responsibility.
The corporate social responsibility agenda at CA Technologies aligns with the United Nation’s Global Sustainable Goals (SDGs), with a primary focus on quality education and gender equality. These are core to our commitment around diversity and science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Addressing the STEM skills gap and gender imbalance is a critical hurdle we must overcome to achieve sustainable growth in a fast-paced digital world. Indeed, this lack of digital skills is a persistent problem in Europe today, with 44% of adult Europeans not having basic digital skills1 – despite the fact that digital skills are now needed in almost all jobs.
In Europe recently, the European Pillar of Social Rights was announced, which focuses on employment and social aspects to ensure Europe is fit for the challenges of the 21st century. Education, lifelong learning and gender equality are within the 20 principles highlighted as essential to building a more inclusive and sustainable growth model, and improving Europe’s competitiveness. The technology industry is in a position to demonstrate leadership towards achieving this transformative vision. Through technology, complex problems are solved to drive economic growth and job creation.
What used to be science fiction is quickly becoming science fact. We are living in the fourth industrial revolution – technology is changing every aspect of the way we live. Business models are having to be rewritten as emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, machine learning and the internet of things disrupt the world. Every company today must digitally transform to stay relevant and competitive – and that means fostering innovation. We’re seeing this shift across all industries: there is Uber, which owns no cars, for example, Facebook, which owns no content, and Airbnb, which owns no real estate.
While technology enables innovation, skills are the new currency.
In Europe, CA Technologies employs a diverse and talented workforce of more than 2,000 staff across 25 markets, with a research and development site in Prague employing more than 350 software developers. Our employees are role models, and we believe that business must play its part in addressing the chronic skills gap and inspiring young people, especially girls, to consider future careers in STEM.
To stay economically competitive, we need more girls to pursue STEM. Closing the gender gap in STEM could lead to an improvement in EU GDP of €610 - €820 billion in 20502.
Growing research suggests unconscious biases and gender stereotyping impact decision making, from the classroom all the way to the boardroom.
As part of our efforts to create an inclusive work environment and encourage self-awareness, CA Technologies has rolled out unconscious bias training opportunities to all employees in Europe. Empowering women and girls is key to building sustainable business.
In 2015, we launched Create Tomorrow, our CSR programme in Europe designed to get more young people excited about STEM careers – and to tackle the gender imbalance. Create Tomorrow is underpinned by the Company’s pledge to the European Commission’s Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition, and is built in partnership with education stakeholders and not for profit organisations across Europe. The programme is led by our employees, known as our STEM Ambassadors, who volunteer their time to deliver hands-on workshops and activities that show school students what it’s like to work in STEM and the connections between studies and career opportunities.
Last year we reached a milestone by connecting with more than 10,000 under-18 school students and over 600 school teachers in Europe through Create Tomorrow. With a focus on continuous improvement, there are more opportunities ahead of us to strengthen our impact in addressing the STEM skills gap, and in 2017 we worked with CSR Europe to develop a benchmark and assessment report for Create Tomorrow. The outcomes helped identify areas where our initiatives are having a quality impact in changing young people’s perceptions of STEM, and in addition areas where we can further enhance our efforts.
Create Tomorrow was recently highlighted by SiriusDecisions, a global research and advisory company, in a Select Best Practice case study, which showcased the strategic steps CA Technologies is taking to help grow the STEM talent pipeline in Europe. Sharing best practice amplifies the potential impact industry can have. It encourages sustainable and long-term change – which will only happen through committed multi-stakeholder partnerships.
For Europe to realise its full digital potential, the chronic STEM skills gap must be addressed collaboratively – industry, governments and education stakeholders working together. School teachers have significant influence in their students’ career choices, and therefore teacher placements in industry must be supported to become accessible and commonplace. Furthermore, including unconscious bias training in teachers’ professional development programmes, and within teacher training modules, will equip them with the skills to recognise and manage gender stereotyping in the classroom. Finally, preparing students for the future of work must start in the classroom. Nurturing and developing creative skills – which include problem solving and critical thinking – is essential to helping students reach their full potential in future careers.
Technology can drive economic growth, but this only possible with a skilled workforce empowered by societies that are built on equal opportunities. Achieving it will take dedicated collaboration between the key players – education, business and governments – to remove the barriers that exist today. Through multi-stakeholder partnerships we can secure a brighter future for this generation and the generation tomorrow.