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The Wall Street Journal this morning writes about how cosmetics retailer Sephora has put together a corporate staff, including on the tech side, that is 62 percent female, and describes this as “a corporate feat” that would make Google, Apple and Facebook jealous.

According to the story, “At a time when technology companies are struggling mightily to attract and retain women with computing and engineering skills, the beauty retailer’s tech staffing is notable not only for the numbers but also for the relatively simple way it got there … Managers say the retailer has managed to attract technical women by recruiting with an eye toward candidates’ potential rather than specific skills, encouraging hiring managers to take risks and ensuring that job performance is assessed fairly.”

Mary Beth Laughton, the company’s senior vice president of digital, says that a key factor “is a dedication to technology with a strong connection to the consumer.”

While “women hold 23% of roles in the technical ranks at the top 75 Silicon Valley companies,” the story says, at Sephora “women make up the majority of its 350-person digital and engineering staff and hold all but one of the roles on its six-person digital executive leadership team. Women lead everything from digital marketing and customer experience in apps to back-end programming of the company’s e-commerce systems.”
KC's View:
Last week, while attending the GMDC Retail Tomorrow conference in New York, one of the stores we visited was the Sephora flagship in Columbus Circle, and what we found was an immersive and experience-rich retail environment that is ideally positioned to compete with online offerings. It seemed very much to be a store created by people who also were the target consumer, and it isn’t hard to believe that it would have a digital footprint that also has been developed by people who are the end users.

Smart marketing.