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Celebrating Women in Digital and Tech: Rachel McBryde, Founder & Director of McBryde & Co

As part of our IWD campaign this month, we are interviewing a range of women in the digital and tech industry for a feature on this Newsroom. Today, we welcome Rachel McBryde, Founder and Director of McBryde & Co.

“Rachel founded McBryde & Co in 2019 following a career in agency delivering mixed-media campaigns for clients including Venator, Northumberland National Park and Northumbria University. The communications boutique supports clients in the professional services and manufacturing sectors, including Ward Hadaway, BW Medical Accountants and Route Agency. Their services include SEO-ready web copy, social content, podcasts, video and influencer relations. Rachel loves mountain biking with her kids and taking on endurance challenges on her road bike.”

1. In your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges women who want to explore a career path in tech and digital face?

I think women face the same challenges as men in many ways. For me, it’s about demonstrating the value you can bring to the job as a human being, rather than as a particular gender. Coming from a PR background, I’ve invested heavily in making sure I have the right skills to create content that works in the digital world and I actively keep on top of changes, but this would have been the same had I been a different gender.

From a female perspective, as with almost every other industry, the pay gap is still an issue. As with other sectors, digital and tech needs to actively create opportunities to develop it’s female leaders, doing that consciously through initiatives like female-to-female support and mentoring schemes, flexible working patterns that make balancing family and work-life easier for all working parents, and appraisal structures that discuss where women would like their careers to go. Research suggests we’re less likely than men to push ourselves forwards in terms of career, but that doesn’t mean we’re any less capable.

2. What do you think needs to be done to attract more women to work in tech and digital?

The words tech and digital can sound scary to digital adopters, but they encompass such a wide scope – and in many cases digital is simply the medium by which we communicate information. We need to start by de-mystifying the words for everyone, not just women.

Commercially, the majority of businesses will operate via some kind of digital forum – even if it’s just their website. If they’re not, they should be in order to grow their business, and that means upskilling and investing in employees digital skills at every level. Education de-mystifies the sector and demonstrates to more people – whatever their gender, the possibilities to transfer or develop their existing skills. Pushing schools to deliver code clubs for boys and girls is also hugely important for the future.

3. What would your message be to women and girls looking to pursue a career in tech and digital?

Go for it. Start young, encourage your kids to join a code club and your schools to start them. Invest in your digital skills if you need to – through courses, reading, audiobooks, podcasts, on the job learning – or identify gaps and push your employer to support you to plug them.

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