99x: An oasis of inclusivity

The creation of a gender equal world is about creating equal opportunities for all, where difference is embraced.

This creates the foundation of 99x’s inclusive and dynamic work culture, a diverse mix of talent that has the freedom to innovate.

As an equal opportunity employer, 99x’s processes are rooted in performance-based decisions and meritocracy. A strong focus is placed on taking this outside the workplace as well, to influence academia, undergraduates, and the extended community in the local and global IT industry, to promote inclusivity and eradicate discrimination. The following outline some of the ways in which we’ve taken further steps towards truly breaking the bias.

Improving gender balance

In a traditionally male dominated industry, 99x has been able to increase its female population in the workforce over the last year. As an overall percentage, it is a minor statistic. However, for us, it shows us that we are moving in the right direction through initiatives such as including at least one female on every interview panel and automating the hiring process as much as possible, to reduce unconscious bias and improve equality.

Strengthening our leadership

We understand that equality and inclusivity must be inculcated at the top, with a trickledown effect that inspires the rest of our people. Within the last 12 months, we strengthened our leadership with the power combination of legal professional Shalini Ratwatte as Chief Legal and Governance Officer and Norway-based Kari Bente Skarbø coming in as Director – Business Development. Their combined expertise will prove to be invaluable as we navigate the tricky waters of expansion in international markets.

What the Xian ladies have to say

The ladies of 99x, together with the rest of the team, are all about giving back to the community – sharing their expertise, soft skills and more, so that the extended community is uplifted as they personally skill up and grow as global IT professionals.

This March, we asked some of the Xian ladies about challenges they face in the tech industry and how they overcame them, how they maintain their work-life balance and advice for the next generation of women in tech.

What do you think are the biggest obstacles that women in the tech industry face and what have been yours?

Kari: Today, a lot more males have extensive experience in the industry, and as a result, management positions in tech-heavy organisations are mostly held by men. For women, this means that there is still a scarcity of female role models. For men, this means that you need to pay extra attention to your unconscious bias as we human beings have a tendency of repeating ourselves. We need to work together to change uneven gender patterns, for example, by creating management fast tracks for talented females.

Kari Bente Skarbø, 99x Director – Business Development

How do you keep up with the ever-changing tech industry?

Nelum: How I keep up with this everchanging industry is by always being ready to take up any challenge at any moment. I understand that all challenges have a risk. I always keep myself up to date, don’t give excuses, try to learn something new daily and am open to feedback.

Nelum Weerakoon, 99x Senior Technical Lead

How do you achieve work-life balance as a woman in the tech industry?

Udari: I believe we need a good work-life balance. A supportive and understanding work environment, and being able to work for flexible hours allow me to achieve productive work hours and are a great support for a good family commitment.

Udari Jayawardana, 99x Associate QA Lead

Do you ever struggle with confidence? How do you overcome it?

Oshadi: Most freshers lack confidence when entering the industry. In the IT industry, anyone can move forward through self-learning, and with the guidance of seniors and your industry experience, you can boost your confidence automatically.

Oshadi Wattuhewa, 99x Associate UX Lead

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry?

Prasadi: Think about all the things you enjoy and what you don’t! Things that are interesting to you. Think about your priorities. Then do some research on job roles in IT and how your likes and dislikes align with them – that will help you find what role is best suited for you

Prasadi Senarathne, 99x Senior Software Engineer