Diversity is at the very centre of the Goldman Sachs ethos. We continue to recognise the crucial role diversity plays at all levels of our company. From the boardroom to our intern classes, we know that, in order to offer the best service to our clients, it is crucial that our people reflect the diversity of the communities and cultures in which we operate. The firm’s unwavering commitment to achieving gender parity in STEM, as well as making coding more accessible to women, is closely aligned with the Code First Girls mission, which is why Goldman Sachs is a long-standing partner and an early stakeholder in its 2020 Campaign, which aims to get 20,000 women coding by the end of this year. Our partnership was initially founded by Jo Hannaford, head of Engineering in EMEA, who was inspired by the Code First Girls mission and the scale at which its courses are delivered: with programs running in all major cities across the United Kingdom, young women countrywide have access to a consistent, unique opportunity to learn how to code which, in turn, opens doors to additional professional prospects. Over the past several years, this partnership has enabled us to make an impact in three key ways:
Provide technical employment opportunities
A large number of the women who complete the Code First Girls courses make career changes into technical roles. This is testament to their enthusiasm and dedication towards shaping their own futures, as well as the support, resources and community thatCode First Girls provide them. For Syed Atif, a senior engineer at Goldman Sachs who has taught almost 200 women how to code via the organisation, this is crucial in the campaign to create a more diverse STEM workforce. Knowing that participants graduate from the course with “the ability to explore employment opportunities previously closed off to them” has fuelled his commitment to delivering these programs over the years.
Foster a more diverse STEM pipeline
Partnering with Code First Girls has empowered Goldman Sachs to cultivate a more diverse technical pipeline, not just in the external technology community, but also within our organisation. As a corporate sponsor, the firm has been able to provide 450 of our own employees with access to Code First Girls’ coding courses. Jo believes this offering provides “an invaluable opportunity for [the firm’s] employees to acquire a new skill in a dynamic and positive environment alongside like-minded women professionals”. Alice, who participated in the front-end web development and Python courses, also recognised the impact associated with offering the courses to a women-only group; like many of the course participants, she felt a renewed sense of confidence in her abilities through studying in this empowering environment, and has gone on to apply what she learnt in her day-to-day role.
Offer leadership and learning opportunities to our engineers
A number of our engineers have had the opportunity to lead these courses, which has encouraged them to reflect on their own personal development and rediscover what made coding so compelling to them in the first place. Teaching has also exposed knowledge gaps and encouraged exploration of basic principles long taken for granted. George, an associate in Market Data Engineering, has found the course participants approach each lesson without any preconceptions, challenging “obvious idiosyncrasies in tools and languages which I’ve long become accustomed to, but have never thought about. I daresay I learn as much as the students.” Through enabling access to coding for young women, Code First Girls enables organisations to have a wide-reaching, tangible impact in recalibrating the gender imbalance in STEM industries. Goldman Sachs looks forward to continuing to work with Code First Girls on this mission into the future.