By Paul Hollands, Chief Data Officer – Hastings Direct
We’re proud to work in partnership with Women in Data to provide opportunities for our colleagues who work (or aspire to work) in data. The contribution and expertise of our data professionals is celebrated in our business, yet we know as an industry we must do our part to bring more gender balance to the sector. So we’re committed to supporting women, building a more diverse pool of data professionals and helping to change the profile of the industry over time.
This week, we hear from our Chief Data Officer, Paul Hollands, following his contribution to a panel discussion at last month’s Women in Data conference. His discussion covered the importance of male allyship in addressing the gender imbalance in data roles.
Supporting the data and analytics community
Data has a hugely influential impact on all our lives – from the jobs we do, to the services and devices we use. As 49% of the population is female, having the appropriate diversity and gender parity within the industry and within roles that define how data impacts us, it’s only right that the models we build and the products we create are influenced by the experience and views of half the population.
I’ve been lucky enough to have worked in data for 20 years and have been involved in Women in Data previously. It’s a fantastic organisation that is focused on breaking down the barriers to entry for females into the industry. The team facilitates one of the best data conferences each year – one which provides a platform for women to share their experiences and encourage others. For me, supporting these activities by giving my time to share experiences in the industry and provide mentorship to talented individuals is an important part of how I support the wider data and analytics community and ensure there is an increasingly diverse workforce.
Building rewarding careers in data
Hastings has an important diversity and inclusion strategy and given the significance of data throughout our organisation, it’s a key objective to apply that strategy into one of our most strategically important capabilities.
We have some exceptional female data talent in Hastings, but there is significantly more we can do to support not only them, but also women who want to grow careers in this space. Women in Data helps provide the networking and learning from an external perspective and allow us to match that to our internal capabilities. Some of the most talented people who have worked in previous teams of mine have come through less traditional avenues (for example, our contact centre), and Women in Data provided a platform for them to grow their confidence and skills as they joined analytical teams.
We have a fantastic data capability across our Alternative Pricing, Retail, Underwriting Services and CDO teams. Sharing our story through Women in Data helps candidates see that Hastings has the right culture and an exciting, cutting edge technical toolset that will help them build successful and rewarding careers in data.
Exciting times ahead
There are some exciting opportunities being explored for 2022. We’re keen to find a way to run a hackathon with Women in Data so we can play a part in building wider skills and provide an engaging challenge for participants. We also have a number of Hastings colleagues engaging in seminars across a wide range of topics and I have offered time for mentoring and coaching if there are topics that people feel I could help them with.