Data science is transforming the way the world works. And yet it’s no secret that currently there aren’t enough women pursuing a STEM related career path. At Experian, we would love to see that change. It’s better for everyone when industries are diverse; it makes us all stronger, more creative and more effective.
We aspire to have a workforce that’s as rich in diversity as the people who use our services and that’s one of the many reasons we’re so excited by Women in Data’s mission. Together we want to empower and encourage women into the data science industry, inspiring, educating and supporting the next generation of data scientists who can help shape the future.
My career started at Zurich Financial Services, where I worked as a Research Analyst. I joined at a very exciting time, just as they were starting to set up a new digital bank. This was 20 years ago, well before the current online banking phenomenon, but for me, it was an incredible opportunity to be involved at the start of the digital revolution in Financial Services.
After that, I went to Charcol – the first online mortgage broker. I ran their web presence and it was a fascinating experience, getting to grips with different datasets and finding out exactly what customers thought of a brand-new way to discover and secure a mortgage. This was well before the comparison market as we know it today, right at the very beginning of what would become a fundamental shift in the way consumers would chose financial products online.
From then, I joined a small Fintech set on helping consumers become more financially savvy – Runpath, now part of Experian. My current role as Strategic Development Director covers many different areas, but ultimately feeds into our ambition to find innovative ways to help people become better at managing their money. The introduction of Open Banking will certainly create huge opportunities for us to do this.
As a female working in the data industry, I feel I have been very lucky. Personally, I have never perceived gender to be an issue – nor experienced a so-called ‘glass ceiling’.
Throughout my career I have been supported and inspired by my female colleagues, notably my first manager, who hired me, and taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to. I was brought up to believe that your gender is not a limitation, and as a result I’ve never let it be one.
You can tell that gender balance has changed for the better in the data industry compared to when my career started, but there’s still a lot of work to do. However, it is encouraging to see more being done to address this, for example implementing more family friendly policies and supporting events like Women in Data UK.
And we’re also seeing more women in senior roles, like myself, who can help shape recruitment processes and build more diverse teams around them. All of this is good news for the next generation of girls who may want to pursue a career in data, or any other STEM related career.
It’s great to see Experian sponsoring this year’s Women in Data UK event, which gives a platform to celebrate women blazing a trail in data and technology. I’d like to think I’ve been empowering women to believe in themselves all this time and hopefully, I’ve inspired them to pass on the belief that gender shouldn’t hold you back.
People are creating more data than ever before. The UK has an average of 3.5 devices per person, making it one of the world’s most connected countries. Globally, the number of connected devices is expected to grow from some 15 billion in 2015 to 75.4 billion by 2025.
That data sits at the heart of many of today’s most innovative technologies. It enables our choices, fuels our economy, informs our decisions and shapes our ideas. As our digital culture accelerates, its influence will continue to expand.
Data on its own has no intrinsic value. It is the insight it contains, the differences it can make to people and businesses, that represents the most significant, and transformative, value.
Technology, innovation and new sources of data mean we’re in a better position to understand and help people act on that data than ever before. That opens incredible opportunities to make positive change in the world – for people, for businesses, and for society.
Over the next five years people will become increasingly aware of the role that data has in their lives and how they can control and use that data to achieve the best outcomes for them. Consumer control is key: the value exchange, where people choose what data they’re prepared to share in exchange for a service or product from an organisation, will be more and more central to the way we all operate.
It’s also possible that the immediate future will bring us new innovations such as home automation, self-driving cars and drone deliveries – just to name a few. The importance of data to fuel these systems will be huge, so getting the data fundamentals right will be the key to success.
We’re living in a period of exciting, unprecedented technological change. As Experian continues to push the boundaries of innovation in the ways we gather, secure, maintain, analyse and deliver data insights to our customers, we’ll see those insights used to make real change in the world. At a fundamental level, as we continue to expand the sources of data we use, we’ll continue to drive financial inclusion and bring more people into the credit economy.
In health, in society, in sport, in every industry you can name: data can help understand and solve problems. That’s why we are so happy to part of this exciting programme, celebrating and supporting some of the people who will help to define that data-driven future.
Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organisations to prevent identity fraud and crime.
We have 17,200 people operating across 44 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people and innovation to help all our clients maximise every opportunity. We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.