The most straightforward way to get involved in a project at Klarna is by asking. If you propose an exciting idea or a change in the ways of working, you’ll often have a great chance to lead on it. That’s how I got involved in the Women in Tech initiative and questions around diversity in the Engineering Competence.
My name is Katarzyna Kaduk and I’m an Engineering Manager in the Decision Services domain. I’m also involved in the Engineering Culture Group that focuses on bringing the best talent into Klarna, with my focus being Diversity and Inclusivity.
After leading teams at Klarna for a while, I started to ask myself and others what we can do to be more attractive to and inclusive of women. I felt and continue to feel passionate about this subject, and so I became more and more involved in this discussion.
Why is having more women in tech so important? The tech world is overwhelmingly staffed by men. But there are multiple studies showing that diverse teams simply perform better. Right now, Klarna has a lot of work ahead to improve statistics when it comes to diversity in Engineering. I know how difficult it can be to be the only woman in your team, or one of the few in the department. Therefore, I want to start more open discussions on what we can do to attract more women to Klarna and, most importantly, make sure that they enjoy it here. Afterall, women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing, so doesn’t it make sense for the teams who build solutions for women to include some of them?
Women in Tech is the Engineering Culture initiative which we started a few months ago. This week, I attended Perspektywy – Women in Tech Summit in Warsaw which I have coordinated from the Klarna side. As one of the main partners and sponsors, Klarna was represented in events around climate change, mentoring and a special panel discussion around cybersecurity featuring our Chief Security Officer. It’s really exciting how work on this project escalated – from looking through interesting conferences in the autumn to being the main partner and organizing a conference trip for forty employees!
But the Women in Tech initiative doesn’t stop there. Our scope is divided into two workflows – external visits and internal events. We want to attract more women to Klarna, therefore we run regular events for women in Stockholm – last month, we hosted WomenHack, which is a really exciting, speed-dating event with interviewers from different companies. We had 7 companies at Klarna and more than 70 amazing women looking for their next career move. And we’re looking to expand our work to Klarna’s other Engineering hub in Berlin soon!
We also organize Lunch & Learn events for women, which happen biweekly. The goal for this series is to meet, learn and discuss important topics – we’ve already covered salary negotiation techniques, the impact of role models and being the team glue.
There’s lots going on but for me, this is just the beginning. I think Klarna in general is becoming more aware about the need for increased gender diversity and more initiatives, such as the ones I mentioned above, are being driven by employees. Yet, we are still at the beginning of this journey and there is still a lot of room for improvement.
I love my work as an engineering manager and I think it’s important that we continue to work towards an environment where it’s the work that matters and that identity is celebrated rather than used to exclude.
While the challenges I’ve had have been through have been tough, I do believe that the difficulties I have faced have shaped my personality a lot. If I look back on my life, there has always been some positive outcome from the lows. When I was studying, I used to have a professor who was extremely gender biased. Even though it was quite hard to pass his subject, in the end it just made me more motivated to prove his prejudice wrong. The same is true in the work environment. Each difficult situation or hard conversation has helped me learn something for the future.
And now that I’ve gotten a taste of the possibility to drive change, I’m looking forward to achieving even more.
Want to be a changemaker like Katarzyna? We’re always looking to do and be better; apply to become an Engineer today and uncover what’s possible.