Gender Diversity and Flexible Work Aid in Talent Recruitment and Retention in Data Science and AI
Felicia Li-Gaillard, Chief Marketing Officer at ADI

Gender Diversity and Flexible Work Aid in Talent Recruitment and Retention in Data Science and AI

2 min read

Championing gender equality and flexible work arrangements drive attracting and retaining talents in the field of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (DSAI), according to Aboitiz Data Innovation (ADI).

“The future of work is one that prioritizes diversity and inclusion, as today’s workforce seeks companies that embody these values. In the data science and AI field, effective diversity and inclusion measures attract and retain talent and drive innovative thinking with diverse perspectives that lead to better problem-solving,” said Felicia Li-Gaillard, Chief Marketing Officer at ADI.

In the Philippines and across the globe, gender gaps continue to persist in DSAI and the broader tech industry. According to the World Economic Forum, women make up only 29.2% of the workforce in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) occupations, compared to 49.3% in other fields. Furthermore, the percentage drops to 25.5% for managerial roles and 12.4% for senior executive positions.

Women at ADI play a crucial role in advancing AI solutions. While the industry faces challenges in gender equality, ADI is committed to balanced representation, with 38% women and 62% men in its current workforce. The startup's leadership is represented by 42% women and 58% men, providing strong female role models at all levels and functions. 

“At ADI, we consciously champion gender equality throughout the organization, including in our leadership team. Achieving gender balance in leadership demonstrates our commitment to gender equality at all levels,” added Li-Gaillard.

In addition to promoting gender diversity within its workforce, ADI advocated for women in adverse conditions. The startup has partnered with Connected Women, a social impact B2B company dedicated to helping Filipino women find meaningful online careers. This partnership is a deliberate decision aimed at providing increased economic opportunities to individuals most vulnerable to marginalization in an increasingly digitized society. It underscores ADI’s vision of a symbiotic relationship between humans and AI, seeking to integrate human intelligence beyond interfaces.

Embracing work flexibility and adaptability

From day one, ADI has embraced a "phygital" work environment, balancing physical and digital workspaces across its offices, including its Singapore headquarters. This approach has made ADI a pioneer in flexible work arrangements, aligning with the Singaporean government's recent mandate for companies to implement processes for formal flexible work requests by December 2024.

In addition to this agile set-up, ADI banks on talent density, the concentration of rockstar talents that turn good ideas into great achievements, for continued success. However, the ongoing tech talent crunch in the Asia Pacific complicates recruitment, particularly for highly technical roles. 

“Adaptability is essential in navigating challenges and nurturing innovation and sustainability. By proactively collaborating with teams to grasp our collective objectives and talent needs, we ensure effective workforce planning that aligns with both internal and external dynamics,” said Calvin Ong, ADI Chief People Officer.

As a result of this approach, ADI has attained heightened workforce flexibility, enabling the startup to effectively manage shifting demands, optimize resource allocation, and achieve desired outcomes. This transition to a more flexible workplace setup has yielded positive results, significantly improving response to market changes, customer demands, project requirements, and most importantly, employee satisfaction. 

As an end-to-end DSAI startup, ADI provides a range of roles covering data science, engineering, machine learning, solution architecture, and DevOps. ADI sources talent globally, with employees hailing from locations such as the Philippines, Singapore, , Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, France, and Canada. This approach fosters diversity, cultural exchange, cross-border collaboration, and multidisciplinary approach within the workforce. Leveraging this diverse talent pool allows ADI to access a broad spectrum of perspectives, skills, and experiences, further solidifying our capability in making AI work.