For over a decade, the representation of women at senior levels has been on the agenda in the corporate world, and yet women are still underrepresented in UK businesses – with women occupying only 30% of management roles.
That number is worse still in the tech industry, with women occupying just 5% of the top jobs.
Last week I attended ‘Women of Silicon Roundabout’ – the UK’s largest tech event for women. There are so many words to describe how fabulous it was to be surrounded by so many other women in my industry. A few that stand out for me are passionate, curious, intelligent, powerful and driven.
Jess McEvoy and I delivered a workshop on ‘How to build a business case for your next promotion’. It was clearly a subject of huge interest with more than 100 women attending so I wanted to share some of the content more widely.
I recently joined Scott Logic, and to help me choose the best fit company for me that was going to fulfil my needs and aspirations, I followed these steps:
Start with asking yourself ‘Why?’
What are your motivations to do this? By asking yourself why, you start a process of growth and discovery.
“You don’t hire for skills you hire for attitude, you can always teach skills.” Start with Why, Simon Sinek
I created a ‘career canvas’ to help me map who I am drawing inspiration from a well-used framework in business called the ‘Business Model Canvas . The purpose of this is to give you self-awareness, identify strengths and weaknesses, and draw out gaps that you have. It’s the building block to your business case.
Know your direction
Think about the direction you want to go in – identify your goals.
Build your case
The Career canvas helped me recognise and act on areas that can be improved. It’s designed to give you focus and self-awareness. It also reveals clear paths on which to build your career in a way that fulfils you and your needs and ambition.
This is a framework guide, and the questions can be interpreted in different ways. And that’s okay.
Where there is significant variance between say what you do all day versus what you’re interested in or your skills are, then this tells you either that you have some areas to focus on developing – you’re in the wrong job.
The difference between ‘Who helps you succeed’ versus ‘What do others gain from you’ shows where I need to expand my area of influence and spend time with some new people.
Sacrifices – this is about identifying your red lines. It’s not a commentary about your choices. It’s about understanding that if there is pressure on something, like job title, salary, remote or in-person, travel etc that you understand where you feel you can be flexible (if at all) and where you can’t. It’s personal, there is no right or wrong. But this is about having thought ahead of time, so you aren’t having to answer on the fly or be put on the spot. It’s also about thinking about what you sacrifice now and what you are looking to change in that list.
Look at the items you list in ‘What motivates you’ and see if your key activities in your role support or hinder your motivations.
There is no right or wrong way of filling it out, but I find it’s easier doing the central pillar last, once you have completed the surrounding ones. The central pillar is your USP, your superpower and what makes you stand out from the crowd.
I researched the companies I was interested in and overlaid their values. It helped me narrow down my choices and stack-rank them against each other.
This is my canvas with the Scott Logic values overlaid:
The career canvas is just one of the building blocks to help you build your business case for your next promotion. Companies use lots of different frameworks and I think these should be very transparent. Once you have put the thought into the canvas, your business case should be easy to write. The next step is then preparing for your interview.
You can download a printable version of the Career Canvas – I hope you find it helpful.