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ESG Empowerment – Advancing Gender Diversity in the Semiconductor Frontier

Every 8th of March, International Women's Day serves as a global call to action for promoting the achievements of women in various spheres. Beyond a celebration, it stands as a reminder for organizations worldwide to evaluate their commitment to gender equality and foster an environment of inclusivity.


As statistical trends show, the technology sector faces a dual challenge in terms of gender equity: women not only remain underrepresented in both tech taskforce and leadership positions within tech firms, but there is also a concerning trend where more women in tech tend to exit the industry by the midpoint of their careers than their male counterparts.


For us at Comptek Solutions, International Women's Day aligns with our ongoing efforts to advance gender diversity within our organization, echoing the United Nations' call to "achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls" —a goal earmarked among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at promoting social, economic, and environmental sustainability for all.


Comptek's female talents join together in the #InspireInclusion pose, in solidarity with the IWD 2024 campaign theme. We're excited to welcome more female colleagues, enriching our talent pool and diverse expertise. (Image background credit: IWD website)
Comptek's female talents join together in the #InspireInclusion pose, in solidarity with the IWD 2024 campaign theme. We're excited to welcome more female colleagues, enriching our talent pool and diverse expertise. (Image background credit: IWD website)

Last year marked a significant milestone for Comptek as we achieved Series A investment funding and expanded into a new, larger premise to accommodate advanced semiconductor optimization processes. In tandem with this growth, we happily welcomed more female colleagues to our team. Their inclusion not only enriches our collective talent pool but also injects a fresh perspective into people's development within our organization amidst the persistent gender gap in the tech industry.


As we transition from a tech start-up to a thriving scale-up, our commitment to gender equality remains integral to our corporate governance and success. By cultivating a workplace culture that not only empowers but also retains female talent, and by promoting diversity and inclusion as our core corporate values, we believe that we contribute not only to the advancement of our industry but also to the creation of a workplace where innovation flourishes, irrespective of gender.

 

This International Women's Day, we have engaged in conversations with both our new and current female employees in our Turku office. By amplifying their voices, we aim to shed light on the strides the tech sector has made in recent years and, equally importantly, highlight the steps we still need to take to achieve broader gender equality. 

 

As Comptek's Researcher Leader overseeing the company’s R&D activities, Marjukka Tuominen holds a pivotal role within the corporate management team in spearheading the ESG governance committee. Having just celebrated their first anniversary with Comptek at the start of this year, Financial Controller, Anna Selander, and Marketing and Communications Specialist, Jaycee Lui-Conckova, are excited to be joined by two more female colleagues in their semiconductor journey: Intellectual Property Specialist, Anna-Liisa Laine, and Lab Technician, Ada Alonso.


Read on to hear more from Marjukka, Anna, Jaycee, Anna-Liisa, and Ada, as they share their unique career journeys in the semiconductor industry.



Q1: What inspired you to pursue a career in technology?

Marjukka: Natural interest and curiosity in nature first directed me toward the path of natural sciences, and the subsequent chapters of my journey unfolded as I embraced the opportunities that came along. Here at Comptek, I enjoy my multifaceted role as Research Leader, encompassing R&D team management, Kontrox process development oversight, and simultaneous involvement in R&D, HR, ESG activities, including Health and Safety responsibilities.


Anna: Even though I am not directly engaged in technological processes, I enjoy enhancing and developing my daily tasks as part of my responsibilities as the financial controller. I believe that nanotechnology plays a huge role in today's highly dynamic world and I feel inspired to contribute to a cutting-edge research and development company that pioneers innovative trends.


Jaycee:  Finland is well-known globally for its strong technological traditions and design innovation. Although my role is not directly in technology, it allows me to utilize and develop my skills in the MarComm field. I'm happy to have the opportunity to help steer international collaboration in this dynamic arena, and the synergy in our international workplace and daily interaction with worldwide customers and partners has been most gratifying and eye-opening.

 

Anna-Liisa:  Mathematics was one of my favorite subjects in school, and I even ended up studying it at university. However, I switched to more practical studies later on and completed my M.Sc. degree in engineering. I was inspired by my aunt, an engineer herself, and even as a little schoolgirl, I was planning to become either a teacher or an engineer.

 

Ada:  At Comptek, I focus on EL measurements for characterization and data analysis. I joined the company because the work here is fascinating and it offers me a great platform to continue learning and explore the realm of technology, which I believe is a prominent force in today's society. 

 

 

Q2: Since joining Comptek, what challenges have you faced and what have been the most rewarding aspects of your journey?

 

Marjukka: Managing company growth and balancing resources and workload is a skill honed through practical experience. This challenge varies for every startup and, I think, is particularly pronounced in our field, where significant resources are crucial for breakthroughs.


While technology development success is rewarding, the most fulfilling moments come from seeing colleagues' enthusiasm and satisfaction, especially when yielding positive project results.


Anna: The biggest challenge was at the beginning when I first joined the company, where I had to quickly learn and grasp the entire accounting operations and workflow while managing crucial tasks and meeting fixed deadlines.


Additionally, mastering the automation and customization of the accounting system, tailored to the company's specifics, required some time. Despite the challenges, I enjoy it a lot as numbers are my passion.


Jaycee: The biggest challenge for me has been maintaining a good work-life balance while catering to different evolving demands in my professional and personal life. On the other hand, the daily opportunity to learn new things in an open and supportive corporate environment has been very rewarding.


As a content gatekeeper, the whole process from ideation to actual production and witnessing the fruition of my creation, all the while contributing to dialogue and collaboration in the tech field, is the most inspiring for me as a MarComm practitioner.


Anna-Liisa: My journey in Comptek as the Patent Counsel responsible for IPR matters has just begun. It's always both challenging and interesting to get to know the new company, its operations, and the field of technology—while also planning how to utilize my IP knowledge and experience; and I’m very excited about the prospect.

 

Ada: I haven't faced any notable challenges, to be honest. Even though I'm not particularly familiar with the industry yet, I receive a lot of help and guidance from my coworkers, which allows me to quickly gain knowledge and confidence in my work. Personally, the most rewarding aspect has been continuously acquiring new skills during my time at Comptek.

 


Q3: From your perspective, what’s the biggest challenge facing women in tech?

 

Marjukka: Personally, I haven't encountered gender-related challenges in tech due to my gender.


Anna: I've had a very positive experience working with diverse, educated colleagues all along, both male and female. However, I think that challenges for women in tech may come from stereotypes and male dominance in the industry. But I've always admired the creativity and unique vision of scientists, particularly women in science. I'm fortunate to be part of the Comptek team that fosters cooperation and mutual support, which motivates me forward.


Jaycee: Personally, striking a good work-life balance amidst varied demands from my professional and personal life has been my main challenge.


It has come to my attention that recent data show more women are leaving mid-tech careers because of reasons such as weak management support, lack of opportunity, and work-life balance. As a full-time working mom with career aspirations, I empathize with the challenges of managing and juggling life spheres while prioritizing our well-being. I'm thankful for the great support and open culture at Comptek, where I can share issues and seek advice from colleagues.

 

Anna-Liisa:  I haven't faced any challenges as a woman in tech. While challenges may vary by industry and the company traditions, my experience, predominantly studying and working with men, has been equal and without issues.

 

AdaIn my view, the primary challenge for women in the tech industry is our own prejudices. As a male-dominated field, technology might appear intimidating for some women, thus perpetuating the cycle of fewer women pursuing careers in this sector. Generally speaking also, women, as a minority, may face workplace discrimination and negative treatment from coworkers and superiors.


 

Q4: What are some changes you would like to see in the tech industry to promote more gender diversity and inclusion?

 

Marjukka: I believe there is a need for increased representation of women in leadership positions. Encouraging more women to pursue and take on leadership roles is a crucial starting point in achieving greater diversity in tech leadership.


I have a wild ambition in the tech field which is to witness humans venturing into space to populate more planets one day! I am adamant that any semiconductor tech development or invention can be a small step towards that goal. I hope that women, along with our excellent male colleagues in STEM, can collectively take the lead, to achieve this aspiration.


Anna: I think it is important to foster an early interest in technology at the school level and nurture future talent. Simultaneously, given the additional maternal duties of some women, it would be very beneficial for organizations to offer flexible work arrangements like flexi-time, supporting work-life balance and creating an inclusive environment in the tech industry.


Jaycee: At the societal level, I think the tech industry can bolster outreach by promoting STEM and technology education in schools from an early age, offering support to interested individuals.


On a corporate level, addressing challenges that lead more women to leave mid-tech careers is crucial. Corporate leadership's consideration of external challenges, fostering supportive allyship, and promoting a people-centric culture are key factors in attracting and retaining diverse talent in tech.

 

Anna-LiisaIn my school days, studying science and mathematics was normal for both girls and boys — we were equally encouraged by our teachers to delve deeper into science and math - and we did! I think it is important to keep encouraging both genders to explore subjects beyond the easiest options for a more diverse and inclusive education, and I hope everyone has the opportunity to have such great teachers as we did.

 

Ada: Personally, I would like to see more women as examples when introducing the technology industry as a career path to high schoolers. The representation of women in these roles is crucial, as it significantly influences a young girl's decision on whether to pursue a career in technology or not.

 

 


References:

The UN Sustainable Development Goals. United Nations. Retrieved February 19, 2024,


Women in Tech Stats 2024 Uncovering Trends and Unseen Data by WomenTech Network. WomenTech

Network Retrieved February 20, 2024, https://www.womentech.net/women-in-tech-stats


Hubbert, Jessica. 70+ Women In Technology Statistics (2024). Retrieved February 20, 2024,


Atcheson, Sheree. (2023, Mar 7) Powerful Tech Stats For International Women’s Day. Forbes.

Retrieved February 20, 2024, https://www.forbes.com/sites/shereeatcheson/2023/03/07/powerful-tech-stats-for-international-womens-day/?

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