23rd March 2023
Women in Tech
Sarah Morris

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to shine a light on the amazing contribution that our team makes to the technology sector and our business. In this series of blog posts, read about the experiences that they’ve had so far, and their thoughts on how to encourage more women into rewarding technology careers.
At Hublsoft we are very proud that 42.8% of our management team are women, way above the average of 26.7% women in the technology industry as a whole. As a company though, we do currently have more members of the team called Steve or Chris (all guys) than women, so we continue to be aware of and look to drive diversity in our business.
This year we're talking to our community to hear their thoughts on working in the technology sphere.
Sarah Morris - People Partner
What do you enjoy most about your role?
My current role is People Partner (I got to choose my own job title!) and you might recognise it as a role within the HR team, although it’s a standalone role currently.  It’s a job that I love, for the variety, for the ability to make a difference, for the opportunity to help people optimise their potential contribution and to be part of something very exciting as a tech start-up.  Our team is amazingly resilient, first-class problem solvers, continually learning and growing, and extremely ambitious.
If I was to call out one thing, I’m particularly pleased to have created and embedded our Zest4Life programme, a cultural focus on health and wellbeing dimensions for everyone.  With support and input from the team this programme simultaneously encourages attention to health and wellbeing, whilst providing opportunities to support and engage with communities and charities that make a difference.  
How long have you worked in the technology sector?
My first role in HR within a technology business was in 2005, although before that, and way back further than I’d care to remember, I had a data analytics role within the health sector.
What other roles have you held in the technology sector?
My first substantial role in tech was in 2005, again with an HR focus, within another software business.  I worked in NHS Digital for a while from 2019 and then joined the Hublsoft team in 2021.  
What sparked your interest in working in technology initially?
I’ve always been interested in data analysis, it’s an integral part of any HR role.  However, the initial reason for the move was driven by a need for greater personal flexibility when I started my family.  I couldn’t create what I needed within my existing role at the time and found what I was looking for with a serendipitous move to the tech sector.  

What challenges did you have to overcome to get your foot on a career path in technology?
Being an HR business partner means that you play an integral role in shaping the business for future success.  You need to understand the business plan, the direction of travel, and enough of the detail associated with technical roles and requirements.  I’ve found that it’s important to build relationships, to find people who are great tech translators, to be organised and clear about the things you’re a specialist in.  

In your experience, does being a woman in your profession come with extra challenges that you have had to overcome?
As the primary carer for 2 girls, I’ve become incredibly good at juggling everything at work and at home.  It’s often felt frustrating (how to split myself in two) but that’s been the springboard for me to work differently.  Whether that’s been about creating clear boundaries between home and work time, making time for reflection or recognising when decisions need to be made quickly, prioritising actions and activities, and promoting knowledge sharing and collaborative working.  These aren’t universal approaches either to working in technology or to women, but they’re absolutely critical to thriving within a fast-moving business environment.  

What’s been the single thing that has helped you with your career in technology?
Creating trust can’t be underestimated, it enables collaborative working and sharing and gets to better business outcomes, together.  And that starts with honing your listening skills, prioritising and carving out time for people to talk, to talk through anything that might be getting in the way, and to take positive action early on. 

What changes have you seen in the sector since you started working in technology?
Well I remember playing some great games of table tennis on my Atari station with my brother and the days of doing business on the move before mobile phones (really showing my age here!)  Advances in technology have created so much flexibility and capacity.  They’ve also driven the ability to produce huge amounts of information, perhaps so much that it has the potential to be overwhelming in its volume.  Understanding what’s important to you in that sea of data is a great starting place, and I love being part of a team creating clarity in this space.   

What would your advice be to any woman wanting to start her career in the technology industry?
Don’t be put off by your experience or lack of experience.  If there’s a role that’s particularly interesting to you, find out more about it, talk to people working in similar environments, and really test whether it’s something that you’d want to invest your own time in.  Talk to your current manager, if they’re good, they’ll help you to find opportunities to grow and make the contribution that you want.  Try and get some relevant placements (perhaps ask to work on a different project or a short secondment to a different team) and go for it – life’s too short!  If you get the chance to work with a different project team, grasp it with both hands – you’ll definitely learn something from the experience. 

Do you think it’s important for more women to find career paths within the technology sector?
Absolutely, we all have a responsibility to optimise diversity within teams, and by doing this, and by making sure that we’re doing this in an inclusive way, we’ll achieve the benefits of different views and perspectives.  

Do you think enough is done to help women get into the technology industry? If not, what would you recommend?
It’s important that there are better links between business and education, from an early point.  Children of all ages are proverbial sponges; the more opportunity they have to understand the variety and diversity of roles that are present and continually emerging, will drive positive curiosity and engagement.  

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