The tech industry has been widely criticized for its lack of gender diversity, despite there being a clear correlation between inclusivity and productivity. According to a Deloitte study by Juliet Bourke and Bernadette Dillon, companies with inclusive cultures are two times more likely to meet or exceed their financial targets, three times more likely to be high-performing, six times more likely to be innovative and agile, and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes.
Overall, by valuing diversity you can see a 20% increase in innovation in your company and reduce risk by 30%.
Despite the clear reasoning for hiring a more diverse workforce, there is still a severe lack of women in tech. In fact, according to the European Commission’s Women in Digital Scoreboard just 17% of ICT specialists are women and earn 19% less than men. Not only that, but almost half of women working in the European tech industries have reported experiencing discrimination in the tech sector.
With such figures, it’s no surprise that it’s difficult to attract and retain women to an industry which is undervaluing them and treating them unfairly.
So, what has to be done?
Here are some essential steps that your company needs to undertake to foster a work environment conducive to eliminating tech’s gender talent gap.
1. Partner Your Recruitment Team With Diversity Supporting Organizations
In order to begin the process of diversity, you need to align yourselves with companies that specialise in closing the gender talent gap. By having your recruitment teamwork with non-profits that support women in tech, you will have access to a much larger pool of female talent. Additionally, many of these organizations arrange workshops and events to provide opportunities for young women in tech which your company could get involved in.
2. Provide Competitive Salaries
In any employment strategy, a competitive salary is an obvious tool to attract more talent. A company will attract female talent if they can show their female employees that they are valued by providing equal and competitive salaries. The gender pay gap is a persistent issue, especially in the tech workforce, so creating a firm policy on ensuring equality will attract talent female employees as a result.
3. Women In Leadership Positions
According to Deloitte’s study, inclusive leaders are essential in creating an inclusive environment. By placing women in positions of leadership, they will lead by example in creating an overall feeling of inclusion. A trickle-down effect of inclusivity will foster feelings of fairness, respect and value, instead of feelings of intimidation and imposter-syndrome which are often found in tech.
4. Blind Hiring
In an industry that is so male-heavy, it is important to create an unbiased environment when recruiting new employees. The process of blind hiring can help to create a much more diverse workforce in your organization. In blind hiring, the candidate’s race, gender, age, personal information and education are hidden from the recruiter in order to prevent discrimination. By testing a candidate’s skills without bias through standardized, competency-based testing, the best candidate can be chosen without the influence of subconscious bias.
5. Women-Friendly Benefits
Women face many challenges when trying to succeed in a male-oriented workforce. A company that provides support to women’s needs can be a much more valuable motivating factor than a larger salary. For example, by providing support for working mothers and women on maternity leave, a company will become much more inclusive and attractive to women as they see that they are supported in fulfilling their job.
Furthermore, companies that provide paternal leave, as well as maternity leave, can make a significant impact on reversing the stigma towards balancing work and family life. If a company can provide flexibility towards working hours, home office opportunities and are open to new ideas, they will see much more interest from female talent.
6. Provide Mentors
Mentorship opportunities can also be extremely empowering for young female talent. With a mentor to provide guidance and support, women will not only survive but thrive. Additionally, to create opportunities for women’s empowerment within your company, consider creating a mentorship programme or group specifically for women. A sense of solidarity between your female employees in the workplace can help to drive innovation, competitiveness and employee retention.
7. Create a Female Voice
A large part of the lack of diversity in the tech industry is the absence of a female voice in the decision-making of large companies. Not only will these companies be ignorant of some important issues for their female employees, but they also won’t benefit from the innovation that diversity provides. By ensuring that you have female employees on committees that vote for important company decisions mean that women will feel more represented. Empowering your existing female employees to share their voice, their concerns and their ideas, your company will become much more inclusive, and desirable, as a result.
8. Share Your Company’s Ethos For Diversity
Voicing your company’s commitment to creating a better, more inclusive working environment in tech will be essential in attracting more female tech talent. On your website, and anywhere else that the company’s ethos is stated, make sure to include your commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive work environment.
Additionally, celebrate the milestones that your company succeeds in being diverse, such as female contributions to successful projects, or minority representation in areas of your company.
Diversity has a positive impact on innovation and revenue, so it’s something to be celebrated!