Gender Contact Point is a project that aims at making the university's research on gender, equality and diversity more available for companies in the IT industry.
– The companies that are not actively working with equality and diversity risk higher costs and less competitive product and service development than their competitors, says project manager Paula Wennberg, Centre for Distance-Spanning Technology, CDT.
– The project brings together both companies and researchers to exchange experiences and together create better conditions for an inclusive IT industry. Tools based on gender research will be produced and packaged in cooperation with local IT companies. Arctic Group is a good example of how it is possible to change the way of thinking.
Lena Jonsson is a senior consultant at Arctic Group. She believes that the recruitment of new staff is often made without reflection, and that their participation in the Gender Contact Point allows them to share their tools and also gain access to more ways of being more thoughtful.
– Firstly, we have learned how to create a better and more inclusive workplace for all employees. But of course, in the end, this new knowledge we obtain will give us more business, says Lena Jonsson.
Arctic Group has for several years been working with a recruiting method that they call the Career chair. The company recruits students from IT-related programmes at Luleå University of Technolgy even before they finish their education.
– Students receive an hourly position with us and work with internal and external tasks. After finishing their studies, they can get a permanent employment, says Lena Jonsson.
Widening the recruitment
According to Lena Jonsson, increased knowledge of gender and diversity also contributed to a broader view of the Career chair.
– The Career chair is a very good thing seen from a gender perspective. When we advertise for staff, many people are reluctant to search and it is difficult to find the women because they are so few. The Career chair however, is based on the personal meeting. For example, if we know that there are girls studying on a specifik programme, we actively seek them out.
The project Gender Contact Point, which is a collaboration between CDT, Gender and Technology and local IT companies, will continue until February 2018 and is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Country Administrative Board in Norrbotten.