Microsoft’s HR chief aims to inspire new breed of ‘IT girl’

Microsoft’s new HR chief has vowed to get more women into IT jobs at the software giant as one of her first priorities.

Sarah Fisher, who replaced Dave Gartenberg as HR director five weeks ago, told Personnel Today she was “personally committed” to improving opportunities for female developers and engineers.

Microsoft is already well above the industry benchmark for proportion of female workers, with 28% of staff and 27% of senior management being female, compared to the sector average of 11%.

Fisher said: “Our [female:male] profile is positive, but it needs to improve without any shadow of a doubt. It’s an area I want to delve into, to encourage females to apply, and I am personally very committed.”

She said the government could do more to incentivise organisations to improve diversity by using positive action techniques, such as encouraging women to apply for jobs.

“Any [financial] support and focus in this area would be welcomed. With all of this, it’s about understanding where the organisation is at and what it needs right now,” she said.

Other immediate priorities for Fisher include improving the clarity and consistency of communications to staff during the economic downturn.

“It is important that any organisation recognises that individuals employed may not be directly affected [by job cuts] but family members or partners might be. We have plans to communicate the [staff] helpline,” she said.

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