Miscellaneous questions
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Various questions for Arjan Herskamp

Scientific research shows that results improve in a diverse and inclusive organizational culture. What measures are companies taking to promote diversity & inclusiveness in their organizations? And does this affect leadership style? We are curious if and how entrepreneurs are picking up on this.

Diverse vragen aan Arjan HerskampArjan Herskamp

CEO Mydatafactory and Calago PIM Experts

Specialists in product information: development and implementation of product information management software. They work with 24 employees at various locations in Drenthe.


Let's get right to the point: what is the state of diversity within your companies?

'We are IT specialists. And unfortunately, there are really still very few women working in IT. A shame, because I truly believe that women can program and advise just as well, even better, than men. So where we can, we actively recruit women for our IT positions, but the supply is scarce. We made a conscious decision two years ago to look for a female member for our Advisory Board. I then really just started searching on LinkedIn for female CFOs in the IT sector. That luckily worked out in the person of Inès de Wit, now CEO of CSN Group.

What does a diverse team give you?

'That a diverse team has a positive effect seems obvious to me. The dynamics are different, everyone brings something different to the workplace. That is important and ultimately benefits not only the atmosphere, but also the quality of the work. That is why I think it is particularly important that Inès is here; it shows that it is possible, working and making a career in IT as a woman. In that respect, we are seriously lagging behind in the Netherlands. We also work internationally and sometimes almost half of the programmers we work with are women. Apparently there is something very persistent in our culture that says that technology is not for girls or women. That starts early on.

Do you also have an idea on how we turn that tide?

'From my pragmatic disposition, I prefer to tell all young girls who have to make a study choice: choose engineering, go into programming. You just can, it's fun, requires analytical skills, creativity and it's a great career. I am really curious as to why our field is still so male-dominated. With that, it's also a kind of selffulfilling prophecy, of course. As long as women are underrepresented, the perception remains that it's not suitable for them. And that's really nonsense. Women just have to make the move into IT. There's really no employer that's going to turn them away.'

What else does diversity and inclusion mean to you?

'In a general sense, I think it's important to realize that we have biases, all of us. If you can see that, you can act on it. And then you can see people better for who they are and what they can do. With us everyone is welcome, as long as you are good at your job. Because we work internationally, we come into contact with other (working) cultures. That is instructive and adds value. So we have an eye for that. Wanting a diverse team also means actively working on that. Like we do in our recruitment. But I'm also at a point where I think action is needed now, instead of just talking. So women: get into programming and apply!