According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, women hold 23% of roles in the technical ranks at the top 75 Silicon Valley companies. A report from the commission attributes the low number of women in tech roles to long hours, lack of advancement, isolation and inhospitable work cultures.
But at Sephora’s corporate office in San Francisco, 62% of the cosmetic retailer’s tech staff are women, and while the figure alone is notable, so is the way that Sephora attracts and retains their female tech staff.
At Sephora, women lead everything from digital marketing and customer experience in apps to back-end programming of the company’s e-commerce systems. They make up the majority of the 350-person digital and engineering staff and hold 5 out of 6 positions on its digital leadership team.
Sephora attracts technical women by recruiting with focus on a candidate’s potential rather than specific skills and hiring managers are encouraged to take risks, Sephora’s approach represents a departure from the way many large technology companies handle recruitment.
“Even if a female candidate doesn’t have all the requirements for a technical job, we want that person to come in and show what they can do,” says Yvette Nichols, the company’s vice president of talent.
Once in a tech role at Sephora, women at the company are also encouraged to take risks, without fear of failure. While tech companies commonly urge workers to embrace failure, the message at Sephora is specifically tailored to help employees avoid common pitfalls that women encounter in tech careers, people at the company say.
When Jenna Melendez joined Sephora in 2012 and arrived at Sephora’s San Francisco headquarters she said the meeting were free-flowing and open. “Everyone spoke,” she says, “and felt comfortable offering opinions on anything from e-commerce to a shade of blush.”
Sephora’s owner, the French luxury conglomerate and Accelerated Analytics customer LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton, maintains a global workforce of 134,500 that is 74% female. Approximately 38% of key executive positions are filled by women, up from 26% in 2007. And, LVMH has committed to a goal of having women in at least half of its key executive positions by 2020.
Source: Wall Street Journal