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6 career tips from a global tech leader

Telstra Careers People

Posted on November 26, 2018

3 min read

I’ve been at Telstra for over 19 years and what a journey it has been so far.

Why have you stayed for so long, I hear you ask? There are three main reasons: the amazing work I get to do as we rapidly bring to life new technology solutions that empower our customers to thrive in a connected world. The ability to work with a phenomenal team who are passionate about what they do. And, most of all, a great sense of community within the business.

Interested in a technology career at Telstra? Search for a job now.

I’ve also got to learn a lot, especially from the cutting edge work I get to do here and the people I get to work with.

So what are the main things I have learnt over my journey that could help your career? Here are my top six things.

Network, network, network

Network like your career depends on it…because it does. Make trusted connections within and outside of your company by attending industry events and using social media platforms like LinkedIn to connect with others.

Think big

You are enough, enough of everything you need to be in order to achieve whatever your heart desires…so back yourself and dream big! You won’t be remembered for responding to email quickly. Do the things that really matter, that you want to be remembered for.

Build good relationships

All businesses are people businesses, so make sure you don’t forget the lost art of doing business through trusted relationships.

I wish I didn’t spend so much of my early career sitting behind a computer typing emails. Instead I would suggest meeting people in person or talk to them on the phone. It’s an easier way to communicate and is a more human way of doing business.

Find a good mentor

I think mentoring is valuable to anyone who is looking to progress their careers. I’ve found consciously writing down the names of the people I would like to meet and learn from, is a great way to draw up a mentoring wish list. It’ll also help you to work out what you would like to get out of a mentoring relationship.

When you meet a potential mentor for the first time keep it relaxed because you are not asking someone to the school dance. If the first catch up doesn’t feel right then don’t force the relationship.

Build your personal brand

I think the first thing to remember is your name is your brand, so you should treat it like a valuable commodity.

You also need to keep in the back of your mind that first impressions count, in person and via your online profiles. Trust is easy to lose and hard to rebuild.

Finally, be yourself

I’m a huge advocate for come as you are to work and work in a way that best suits you. For me, this means I come to work in my jeans and sparkly sneakers. I often bring my daughter Sofia to work and I often work flexibly either from home, or a café for different energy and inspiration.

People shine the most when they feel like themselves inside and outside of the office, and I believe others are attracted to working with people like that.

See where a technology career at Telstra can take you

Tags: advice, leadership,

What makes Telstra a great place to work?

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on March 26, 2018

5 min read

Being recognised as a great place to work is the combination of many factors, including continually seeking ways to help our people thrive.

It is critically important all our people at Telstra – no matter role or location – feel empowered to help us deliver in a competitive and continually evolving market. A big part of that is about being able to connect to a future created by you.

Being recognised by LinkedIn as one of the top companies to work for in Australia for 2018 shows we are on the right track, but there is always more that we can do to become an even greater place to work. We need to continue find new ways to attract and retain the best talent to help us reach our vision of becoming a world class technology company that empowers people to connect.

As our company evolves, the size and nature of our workforce is also changing, with some positions transitioning and new roles being created. We are responding to these changes through highly responsive learning and development programs, more flexible and remote-working opportunities, and leadership development programs. We have also identified what is needed to accelerate our cultural transformation, change the way we work and differentiate us from our competitors.

So why do I believe Telstra is a great place to work? For me, it’s the combination of many elements, from what is expected of our people day-to-day, to how and where we work, and the support we provide to develop interesting and satisfying careers.

Here are some of the things we are doing to create a workplace that encourages our people to enjoy coming to work and to challenge themselves at Telstra.

Helping our people to thrive

We are focused on offering our people more than what they have come to expect a ‘job’ could be.

That means being supported by leaders and colleagues to transform their careers in a way that suits them best. This can be through new opportunities across or up our business or by learning from leaders in their field.

Our people are given accountability over their roles and encouraged to develop their skills both on the job and through a broad range of learning opportunities. When there is a gap identified in someone’s knowledge, they are given the tools and resources to grow. It’s about being trusted to deliver and encouraged to say ‘there is a better way’.

This approach has helped us find and retain some of the best people, who love what they do and work on incredible projects they might not have found elsewhere.

A diverse and inclusive workplace

‘Bring your whole self to work’ is a mantra we also work to, and we actively embrace diversity and inclusion across our business.

For us, diversity means difference, in all its forms, both visible and not visible, and includes differences that relate to gender, age, cultural background, disability, religion and sexual orientation, as well as differences in background and life experience, and interpersonal and problem solving skills.

There is no single way to embrace diversity and encourage greater participation of under-represented groups, particularly for a business of our size and scope. Instead, real change is the cumulative effect of both developing a deep understanding of the entrenched practices that prevent participation and finding different ways to address barriers.

Alongside this approach we find ways to celebrate diversity and build strong internal connections across the business. We have many employee networks where our people can build relationships and influence, learn and support each other. These include our Brilliant Connected Women network for women and men to champion gender equality; our Enable network for employees with a disability and carers, our Spectrum network for LGBTI+ employees, and our network for Telstra Indigenous employees.

Flexible working for all roles

We’re busier now than ever before and we know that the traditional 9 to 5 workday doesn’t work for everyone. Through our ‘All Roles Flex’ initiative, we have made flexibility a key aspect of our working lives. Being able to work from home or alter start and finish times, for example, is par for the course at Telstra.

Building a workforce of the future

The industry around us is changing – quickly. Success can only be achieved by having the right people doing extraordinary things together.

We are building solutions that give our business even greater visibility of the skills needed to deliver on our strategy, and our people greater clarity on the skills they need to grow and thrive at Telstra.

In particular, we will be looking to increase our capability in a range of talent segments, including Software Engineering, Network Engineering, Infrastructure Design & Engineering, Information & Cyber Security, Data Analytics and Management, Product & Service Design and Solution Architecture.

While we are focused on our future we will never lose sight of what makes us a great place to work for all of our people.

Achieving gender equality: our bias for action


Posted on March 7, 2018

6 min read

International Women's Day 2018: Achieving gender equality - our bias for action

As organisations move away from traditional command-and-control structures, a diverse and inclusive culture makes a fundamental difference in attracting and retaining the best talent to accelerate cultural change.

There is no single way to embrace diversity and encourage greater participation of under-represented groups, particularly for a business of our size and scope. Instead, real change is the cumulative effect of both developing a deep understanding of the entrenched practices that prevent participation and finding different ways to address barriers.

A major focus for our business is gender equality, an area where we continue to develop and roll out different ways to introduce true change – some big, some small. Here are five ways we’re addressing this challenge.

  1. Knowing what we’re reaching for

We can’t achieve greater gender equality without knowing the objectives we need to meet – especially in an organisation with a large proportion of traditionally male-dominated roles.

Our Board sets clear targets for gender representation as part of our broader commitment to diversity and inclusion.  We have a goal to reach a female representation level of 32 per cent across our business by 30 June 2018. Our overall gender balance last financial year was a little over 30 percent female, so we still have more to do.

Gender pay equity continues to be another key area of focus and we remain vigilant about how we administer and apply policy to avoid any bias in performance assessment and remuneration decisions. When we compare pay on like-for-like roles, the gender gap as at 30 June 2017 is two percent Being transparent about this with our employees and publicly is critical if we want to make sure we are living up to our values and commitment to gender equity.

To work towards gender pay equity, we examine our remuneration data across all business units every year to identify any pay disparities that can’t be explained by factors such as levels of performance or role type. Each business unit has a dedicated budget for correcting disparities and we closely monitor the application of this budget to ensure funds are distributed in line with our core principles. Gender equality and pay equity are separate yet connected issues – improvements in one will lead to improvements in the other.

  1. Shifting the balance through focused action

While all recruitment and promotion decisions are based on selecting the best person for the role, strengthening our female talent pipeline is imperative.

In March last year, we were proud to mark International Women’s Day by introducing a Global Recruitment Equality Procedure, a requirement that recruitment and interview shortlists include at least 50 per cent female representation.

Nearly a year later, we are seeing strong results. As at January 2018, women represent around 50 per cent of interview shortlists compared to 35.5 per cent prior to implementation; this includes those roles with a 25 per cent target given the recognised shortages in the supply for some of roles – something we need to change too! The more gender balanced shortlists are translating into an increase in female hires. A simple approach is making a real difference.

  1. Finding new ways to support women at different stages of their careers

We have other targets to meet, including 40 per cent female non-executive directors and female promotion rates greater than female representation in our business by 2020. We need new ways of making this happen; we need to address some of the challenges women can face during their careers, such as taking time out to be a primary care giver or to pursue other interests.

One way forward is a new program we have developed to specifically help talented and experienced senior people to return to the workforce after a period of at least two years away.

Participants will have the opportunity to join our business in a valued and challenging role, with additional support and guidance to make a smooth transition back into corporate life. We’re currently working on placing 14 successful candidates in the pilot program in one of our major business units; if successful, it’s a model we hope to roll out throughout the business. The passion and calibre of the applicants was amazing with many shared stories of the significant challenges of trying to re-enter the workforce after an extended period away.

  1. Encouraging different generations to bridge the technical skills gap

Like most organisations, we have a clear gender imbalance in some areas of our business: bringing more women into roles where there is a known significant gender imbalance in the job market is an ongoing challenge.

We’re taking a number of approaches – both short and long-term – to drive applications and target active female job seekers right now, to reach women at early stages in their careers or at a university level, and to invest in generational programs to encourage more women to choose a technology-focused career path.

Investing in education initiatives like ‘code clubs’ for girls in schools and digital making parties focused on building STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and digital citizenship skills in grassroots communities, classrooms and public libraries across Australia makes a difference.

  1. Actively seeking different thinking

Innovation and the ideas to disrupt the status quo to drive diversity and inclusion can come from anywhere in the organisation – top down from the leadership team, bottom up from the front line, and everywhere in between. The challenge is to bring the great ideas to light.

One way we’re nurturing different ways of thinking about gender equality is through Brilliant Connected Women, a vibrant and active network of almost 3,000 Telstra women and men who champion gender diversity and equality.

Part of Telstra’s Diversity and Inclusion program, the network is open to all employees and connects women at all levels through networking, mentoring, educational forums and events, and a focus on transforming our environment to further the inclusion of women.

None of these actions will bring about gender equality on their own – and nor do we intend stopping here. In the same way digital technologies are revolutionising our world, there is a need to search relentlessly for better solutions to support diversity and inclusion.

In a world where change comes from a bias for action and bold ideas, one thing we cannot do is get comfortable.

Why we’re passionate about gender equality

Telstra Careers Community

Posted on January 29, 2018

4 min read

We believe having diversity in our workplace fosters greater innovation, better customer connection and increased morale.

That is why we’ve created an environment that’s inclusive and supportive for all of the 32,000 people who work here.

We had a chat with our Global Head of Learning and Development, Lynne Barry, to find out how Telstra is ensuring gender equality in our workforce.

Can you talk us through why gender equality is a challenge for the tech industry?

While the vast majority of the technology industry’s biggest employers have gender equality policies in place; parity remains a challenge for every organisation. Even as more women join the industry, day-to-day we face an imbalance in the talent pool.

At Telstra, women often form only 30 per cent of candidates for roles, and this can sink as low as 20 per cent for roles with a strong technical focus. In these scenarios, it’s tough for recruiters to facilitate parity. The next conundrum, we face, is that once women are in a recruitment pipeline, there can be an unconscious inclination for hiring managers to look for talent who are just like themselves.

It’s a cultural issue that we can address through awareness but also through policy intervention, when required.

How have you seen the work environment change for women in the past five years?

I’ve definitely seen a shift. Today, there is a more open conversation around the gender equality challenges within the industry. Tech companies are increasingly saying the impetus falls on them to address the gender gap and developing targeted initiatives to tackle the imbalance head-on.

Opportunities are growing too; technology talent is more heavily demanded as organisations begin to focus on digitisation. To meet their need for digital talent, companies are thinking about non-financial rewards that can set themselves apart from other employers, such as flexible working arrangements and offering defined career pathways. I believe the biggest certainty for women today is that there are more opportunities at their fingertips than ever before.

Lynne has publicly spoken about the benefits of workplace diversity in the past
Lynne has often spoken publicly about workplace diversity and its benefits

Do you have a view on women taking ownership of their own career? 

Today, I often speak to young women who have a career plan from early on and are ready to have conversations about their career development; this attitude is to be commended. It’s important that we encourage women to think carefully about how they can cultivate their strengths in order to reach their career goals.

Whether this is volunteering for difficult projects or accepting leadership roles when they’re offered – I implore women to have the confidence to say yes. While having get-up-and-go is important, we can’t let the onus fall onto women; businesses need to make sure feel women feel empowered to ask for the next role and take risks along the way. It requires a culture-led approach, and we must all play a part.

How is Telstra ensuring women feel supported in the workplace? 

For us, diversity is about adopting a holistic approach. We recently introduced a recruitment requirement that women make up at least 50 per cent of recruitment and interview shortlists. We also actively promote ‘All Roles Flex’, allowing employees to determine how, where and when they work.

Through this approach we’ve been able to support men and women to adjust their working life at different periods. This can be as simple as supporting parental, social or sporting responsibilities; or more formal, such as transition to part-time.

We’re always exploring new ways of creating an inclusive culture that allows women and men to achieve their full potential.

What is the feedback you get from Telstra people about our diversity culture?

The feedback we are hearing is that the involvement of our senior leadership team really brings our diversity initiatives to life. Women don’t just want to hear from HR about progressive policies; they want to hear about our commitment to diversity from the senior leaders too – either through them raising the profile internally or championing industry-wide change. It’s about having influential industry figures elevate the conversation – and this breaks down a lot of barriers.

Learn more about what diversity means to us here at Telstra.

3 pieces of advice to make you an outstanding tech leader

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on January 22, 2018

5 min read

From being part of a startup in Israel to working in a senior technology position at Telstra, our Director of Innovation, Ayala Domani, has an interesting career.

Are you interested in a technology career at Telstra? Search for a job now.

We caught up with Ayala to have a chat about the lessons she’s learnt along the way and what advice she has for aspiring tech leaders.

Can you start by telling us about your leadership role in Telstra?

I have the privilege of leading the Innovation team in Telstra’s Chief Technology Office.  It’s a diverse team of people which includes entrepreneurs, developers, designers, growth hackers and more, that help the business accelerate new growth opportunities and drive engagement and collaboration with our ecosystem partners and customers.

Can you tell us a little bit about your career background?

I started my career in Israel working for number of tech startups before moving to Australia and joining Telstra. While still in university doing my Economics & Communications degree I took a part time job in a startup as a software tester and from there progressed to a number of technical and customer facing roles. At Telstra, I took on a variety of roles including product development, partnership management and product marketing.

How was it like to move from a start-up to a large corporate?

Moving from the fast moving, dynamic Israeli startup environment to corporate Australia was a huge cultural change. I remember initially being frustrated with the way we took products and services to market. I couldn’t understand why it had to take so long and be checked by so many people along the way. It only really hit me after a while, after I saw the products and services that I worked on out in the market and was blown away by the scale and impact they had. It was nothing like I had seen in the startup world.

As a large organisation we obviously need to get things right before we scale them but we’re also working on getting better at the early exploration, validation and incubation phases, and doing it faster and in a more entrepreneurial and customer-centric way.

That’s in part what my team is driving now and I love being part of it as it really brings together the entrepreneurial mindset and approach with the reach, impact and scale of a large organisation.

Were there any challenges along the way?

Yes of course, I’m sure everyone has challenges along their career and I think how you respond to those challenges really matters.

A few years ago I came to a crossroad in my career. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next and nothing seemed like the right next step at the time so I decided to take a career break to explore, experiment and reflect.

There is a saying ‘when you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you’. In hindsight, that’s what happened to me. I started chasing the wrong things and it didn’t make me happy so I had to pause and rethink.

During my break I worked with a small business, did some consulting work with a company that runs leadership development programs, mentored and most importantly invested time in developing myself and figuring out what matters most to me.

Ironically, taking a career break was the best thing I could have done for my career and it certainly opened up the opportunity for the right things to catch me.

What advice would you give to people who want to be a leader in the technology space?

  • Look for role models and inspiration in all places not just up the line. As an example, there are people in my team and in my family that inspire me and teach me more than anyone else that might have an official leadership title. (If anything, raising three strong willed girls is teaching me a lot and stretching me in all sorts of directions…)
  • Don’t consider yourself an expert. Rather, adopt a continuous learning mindset and curiosity. You don’t need to know everything to be a good leader but you do need to know how to ask good questions.
  • ‘Starve your ego, feed your soul’ – I found this advice particularly useful in situations where there is doubt or a crossroad ahead. When you face those situations, take an honest look inside, listen to your intuition and think whether your decision is feeding your ego or your soul and that will give you a good guidance for making the right decisions for yourself.

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t be too afraid to fail. Have more fun, don’t forget to enjoy the ride.

Looking for your next career step? Explore technology careers at Telstra.