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Sykes Enterprises - Achievement in Developing and Promoting Women

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Company: Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated
Company Description: Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated is a leading provider of multichannel demand generation and customer engagement services for Global 2000 companies and their end customers.
Nomination Category: Achievement Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Achievement in Developing and Promoting Women

Nomination Title: SYKES Women in Technology

Describe for the judges the activities related to the development and promotion of women at the nominated organization since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

It’s no secret that the high-tech field is traditionally dominated by men, but when Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated learned that women made up only about 14 percent of its tech business in 2016, they decided they weren’t okay with the status quo.

Helping women grow careers in technology is not just about encouraging them to learn new skills. In a global society where parents are much more likely to expect their sons to work in STEM careers than their daughters, even if they show the same ability,” it’s also about empowering them to believe that they can.

So, SYKES Costa Rica launched the SYKES Women in Technology (SWIT) program as an extension of its successful Tech Academy, which provides students and existing employees with advanced technical education and internationally recognized certifications.

Now in its second year, SWIT works in conjunction with the company’s overall gender-equity goals to achieve parity in technical accounts by recruiting, developing and retaining talented women. And perhaps most importantly, SWIT empowers women to renounce the notion that tech jobs are only for men and encourages them to enroll in the SYKES Tech Academy. There, they advance through seven levels of progressively specialized courses and build the job skills necessary to earn promotions within SYKES’ technology sector.

Since its inception, SWIT has connected with more than 900 current SYKES employees and granted 300 scholarships. The number of women enrolled in the Tech Academy has tripled from just 70 in early 2016 to more than 200. And as of 2017, the number of women working on SYKES’ technology accounts has grown from 13.5 percent to 18 percent.

The program has grown both overall female enrollment in the Tech Academy, and the diversity of its students. In January 2018, 87 percent of women who enrolled were from nontechnical backgrounds. In 2017 and 2018, SWIT events connected with more than 850 students from Costa Rica’s Colegio Superior de Senioritas and public high schools.

SWIT is making an impact not only for SYKES Costa Rica, but also its surrounding communities. In 2017, it received the Social Responsibility Award from the American Chamber of Commerce. The Costa Rican government including the Education Minister and Minister of Women’s Conditions, and organizations including the United Nations, the U.S. Embassy, UNESCO and local Chambers of Commerce have recognized SWIT’s efforts to promote women into technology careers. Even Costa Rica’s first lady, Mercedes Peñas Domingo, thanked SWIT and encouraged women to participate in the program.

The program’s success proves that women do want to pursue technology careers — they just need someone to tell them that they can and should. SWIT and SYKES are proud of what they’ve been able to achieve in closing the gender gap in technology in just a few years, but they’re nowhere near finished. By June 2019, SWIT hopes to see more than 130 women graduate from the Tech Academy, and their long-term goal is to see the number of women in tech accounts triple by 2021.

Provide a brief biography of the person or persons who lead the nominated organization (up to 125 words):

 Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated (SYKES) is a leading provider of multichannel demand generation and customer engagement services for Global 2000 companies and their end customers. SYKES’ differentiated full lifecycle solutions and services — digital marketing, sales expertise, customer service, technical support and more through multichannel delivery platforms — effectively engage customers at every touchpoint of the customer journey. Our complete service offering helps clients acquire, retain and increase the lifetime value of their customer relationships through cost-effective solutions that enhance the customer service experience, promote stronger brand loyalty, and foster high levels of performance and profitability.