Prosperity 24.7 already employs up to 40 staff members, with plans to increase that number to 60 by the end of 2019, providing a full range of digital services.
The plans discussed during a recent strategy day held at the Grand Hotel include creating a ‘small medium enterprise’ (SME) team focusing on growing fully outsourced services for small but potentially high-growth businesses, as well as a ‘business angels’ team.
In addition, the business solutions team will be building artificial intelligence and Robotic Process Automation in the fintech, regtech and govtech space. The firm also envisages significant growth from both the new General Data Protection Regulation and data management requirements.
In tandem with this, the team hopes to grow the number of women employees, who currently make up 20% of the workforce.
Prosperity 24.7 co-founder and director Geraldine Evans explained: ‘Some people might question why we make a point of talking about gender balance, but if we don’t, nothing will change. The percentage of women is so low generally in technical positions, as well as at board level.’
Mrs Evans said that unconscious bias and gender stereotyping were among the reasons for the low numbers of women in technology jobs. ‘People like to work with those who have similar interests,’ she said, ‘so men tend to recruit men like them, and women recruit women.
‘For a long time I was the only IT director in a Jersey technology company, but that is now changing. I do think it is important for younger people to see role models in the science, technology and engineering sectors. I remember when I was growing up in Ireland, I was encouraged to study humanities and ended up in IT by default.’
As chief learning officer, Mrs Evans stresses that technology roles are not always digital and can involve communication, project and change management, marketing and many other skills. ‘This year we are aiming for a target of 25% women in the firm and last year 42% of all new recruits were women,’ she said. ‘That might not be massive, but for a small company it is substantial. It will also help us to better serve our mix of clients.’
She added that Prosperity 24.7 provided services to a range of sectors, not only the key industry of financial services, but also retail, legal, tourism, mining, and the public sector.
Currently there are also two personnel in Guernsey and clients are supported from Jersey in 17 different jurisdictions, including Egypt, Switzerland and South Africa.
Asked what the key skills might be for someone interested in a career in technology, Mrs Evans said that although qualifications were important, a willingness to learn was paramount, as well as enthusiasm and outside interests that reflected a digital ‘mindset’.
‘We don’t have a distinct job description – we say to people, tell us about yourself, what interests you. Someone can start out in one area of the practice, but then find that they are more interested in one of the other areas.
‘Ultimately we are a consultancy and our job is to make clients’ lives easier and help them to use technology to prosper. That’s what we’re here for.’