International Women’s Day: Being bold is in our DNA


Happy International Women’s Day! At Xero it’s a great opportunity to celebrate all the incredible women who work hard everyday to ‘Be Bold for Change’ – this pic is just a few of them. It’s also a chance to stop and reflect on all the cool things we’ve achieved in terms of encouraging more women into the tech sector and Xero. We’ve been really committed to this for some time now and although we know there is still lots more to do we’re definitely heading in the right direction.

A few of our great stats:

At Xero ‘change the game’ is part of our DNA so ‘being bold for change’ comes naturally to us . Here’s just some of the positive change we’ve seen since 2012 in terms of the % of females across Xero globally.

It’s great to see that we have increased our % of women across many parts of the business over the past 5 years. We are also above the industry average in a number of these areas, including product and platform where we now have 25% females and the industry average in 15%. Getting more women into the technical side of our business is a key priority for us and we are making great headway.

Why is diversity and inclusion important at Xero?

Here are just a few of the reasons:

  • Accepting and treating everyone equally and with respect is what our Xero #human value is all about
  • It aligns with our PX strategy, which is centred on ‘believe, belong and flourish’ – we want everyone to ‘bring their whole selves to work’ so they can do the best work of their lives
  • We need to reflect our diverse customer base to ensure we build products that speak directly to them
  • It’s a social imperative – our people will be more engaged, motivated, high performing and happy
  • Drives better business outcomes – leads to greater innovation, economic performance and shareholder value (McKinsey’s research highlights that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers).

What’s our approach?

We have an unwavering focus on encouraging more women into tech and helping them to flourish once they get here. However, we have never taken a ‘tick the box’ approach or believed that setting hard targets is the answer. For example, we have always made the decision to recruit and promote people based on merit rather than reaching quotas as we know that our success as a business relies on appointing the ‘best person for the job’. We just need to be sure that there is no bias, conscious or unconscious, at play when we make ‘merit-based’ decisions.

Our approach therefore, has been to focus on proactive strategies that will ensure we continue to lead the way in the tech sector when it comes to gender diversity. This is reflected in our Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan for 2017 which includes a heap of great stuff we are rolling out globally.

Here’s just a few of the things we have in play:

  1. Ensure diversity and inclusion is a strategic business priority led from the top
  2. Have a global approach to flexible working
  3. Diversity and inclusion training for all Xeros (including unconscious bias training)
  4. Strengthen the number of women leaders we have across the business (removing any roadblocks)
  5. Ensure our employer brand reflects the importance of diversity and inclusion at Xero and we attract from a deeper talent pool
  6. Host and sponsor a number of ‘women and tech’ initiatives and events globally (e.g. Code Like A Girl, Tech Girl Movement, League of Extraordinary Women’s Tech Formation: Run the World conference etc.)
  7. Appoint a Global Diversity and Inclusion Manager to drive our focus and initiatives forward

Beyond gender…

Finally we know diversity is a broad concept, but we have actively chosen to put particular attention on gender at the moment. Getting more women into tech is another one of our primary missions. However, our vision for diversity and inclusion at Xero is much broader than just referring to people in terms of categories (e.g. gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality etc.). But rather we want to develop a culture and environment where all Xeros feel like their personality, perspective, slang, background, and stories matter and are embraced as much as everyone else’s. Only then do we all have the opportunity to truly flourish. Cheers to that!