For Petra Weslien, HR Director at Stockholm-based tech giant Truecaller, one of the biggest challenges with equality is maintaining it from half the world away. With three offices in India, an office in Nairobi and a headquarters in Stockholm (where she is stationed), it can be tough to keep inequality from slipping through the cracks.
“In India it can be very difficult to recruit equally in the product and tech area. But we’ve been working very hard and say there needs to be two females and two males in the final four candidates,” she tells The Local.
It might not sound radical but Truecaller’s policy is not to be sniffed at. The tech industry has long suffered with a pipeline problem with just 20 percent of tech jobs held by women. Despite this disparity, Truecaller is sticking firmly to its guns and remains committed to seeking out female tech talent. It’s paying off too, with women accounting for 28 percent of the organisation in both Sweden and India.
“It’s difficult but you need to persevere to find these female candidates. It’s not impossible but you need to put in that effort and dig a little deeper and that’s what we’re doing.”
It’s just one way Truecaller is living up to its promise of being A Woman’s Place. The gender equality initiative, which was launched in March by Stockholm’s investment promotion agency Invest Stockholm, aims to contribute to fair professional opportunities for both women and men.
However, says Invest Stockholm’s Acting COO Julika Lamberth, the initiative is not a guarantee of irreproachable equality. Instead, it’s a vow to collaborate, contribute and strive towards a future free from gender discrimination.
“We have the best working environment for women in the world but we’re not totally there yet. With this initiative we want to take it one step further to make it perfect in order to keep attracting the world’s best talent to Stockholm, regardless of gender.”
Employing diverse talent is a pillar of Truecaller’s growth strategy and with good reason. The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 maintains that ‘to build future economies that are both dynamic and inclusive, we must ensure that everyone has equal opportunity. When women and girls are not integrated…the global community loses out on skills, ideas and perspectives’.
It’s this assertion that drives the A Woman’s Place initiative.