Why does MotherBoard matter to you? – feat. Vistair Systems Ltd

We caught up with Lesley Bell, Director of Human Resources At Vistair Systems Ltd, specializing in Aviation document management and safety management system solutions.

MotherBoard is a community, meetup series & charter that has been created to drive positive change throughout the UK Technology and Data sectors, all about creating environments that support the inclusion of working mothers.

Why did you become a signatory of the MotherBoard Charter?

Lesley: Vistair are very aware of the challenges of recruitment in today’s market. An additional challenge is encouraging and recruiting women and mothers into a male dominated tech industry. Our clients are airlines and the military, also a male dominated industry. Vistair’s current gender profile is 74% male, 26% female and it is important to us as a company to see if we can make a difference and address the balance. Vistair firmly believe in inclusion and diversity of it’s employees. We believe in providing the opportunity to draw on the different skills, culture and knowledge that a diverse workforce brings. Becoming a signatory of the MotherBoard Charter is the start of our journey, consciously working towards addressing the balance within Vistair and supporting the work behind the MotherBoard Charter. We are keen to embed our partnership with MotherBoard. With their support we are hoping to improve the perception of Vistair and the tech industry, and share our results with our partners and clients, to help them make the changes needed too.

As a business, what challenges have you faced when hiring women into your tech team?

Lesley: We see a lot of CVs from recruitment agents, job boards and referrals, amongst others. We are very aware that there are markedly less women applying for our roles within the tech teams. We believe this to be partly due to our naively preconceived idea that an employee has to work full time and work routine hours to be able to perform as efficiently as anyone else in the team. Since covid, we have dramatically changed our view of this. Vistair now embraces a hybrid working environment, seriously considers flexible working requests and wants to fully encourage returning mothers back to the tech world. We recently welcomed back one of our returning mothers from 2013, on a part time basis, she is one of our best team members, completely dedicated and a great dynamic in the team. Vistair’s challenges have been understanding how part time, flexible working can fit with the business and how to best advertise our business as one being open to a better work/life balance, therefore considering all options available to us when recruiting. We need to continually assess the perception of who we are as a business, to make sure we don’t inadvertently miss out on having access to the best talent. MotherBoard are willing to work with us on how we can attract returning mothers and help us to support them within Vistair.

What would you like to see change in the tech industry for mums in the next few years?

Lesley: We would like the tech industry to commit to being more inclusive and be open to a new way of thinking about who they are and how they work. By consciously excluding certain demographics during recruitment is not only illegal, it’s not ethical and it limits creative thinking and potential for new opportunities. The tech industry could benefit from encouraging mothers back to the workplace by opening the mind to new concepts. Just as the tech industry embraces new technology, new, inclusive ways of working should also be high on the agenda. Instead of having a preconceived thought that ‘it just won’t work for us’ the thought should be ‘can we make this work for us and the candidate’. The tech industry needs to move forward and embrace all opportunities and create opportunities for all.

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Sophie Creese