7 Ways to Recruit More Women in Tech

Tech jobs are being created at an unprecedented rate, but the talent pool is struggling to keep up with demand. Cavernous skill gaps are creating huge needs across many industries.

Almost seven million people are employed in the United States’ tech sector, making up around 4.4% of the total workforce, and the number of new vacancies posted keeps increasing.

WHAT’S KEEPING WOMEN AWAY?

With ample job opportunities, and an average salary near double that of the national rate, what’s keeping women from accessing these unprecedented opportunities?

Women make up 57% of the total labor force, have more than 50% of the college degrees, but are in just 20% of tech roles. How does the tech space ensure that it has access to talented women?

GET MORE TALENTED FEMALE TECH PROS THROUGH THE DOOR

There’s no quick fix for the gender imbalance in tech, but there are a few things that you can do right now to get more talented women in STEM through your doors.

Whether you are a hiring manager, work in internal talent acquisition, or for a recruiting agency, you might believe that your recruitment processes are as fair and balanced as they can possibly be.

But the reality is that the hiring process is fraught with both unintentional and systemic barriers for women in tech.

As the first point of contact in the hiring process, recruiters and managers can open the gates of opportunity and play a big role in ensuring diversity and equity in the tech ecosystem.

Don’t let the business importance of team diversity slip onto the back burner to keep down your time-to-hire stats. If you create more inclusive hiring processes they will pay dividends for your business success.

Here are some tips to make sure you’re not excluding female talent right off the bat:

  1. Widen your sourcing strategies.

    Implement policies that force you to cast a wider net or consider candidates that might otherwise not come up on your radar, like aiming for a minimum number of qualified female applicants on your shortlists. In 2015, Intel pledged to actively work toward achieving a fully representative workforce by 2020 with Barbara Whye, the company’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, stating that “if you do not intentionally include, you will unintentionally exclude.” A major part of this initiative is accountability—a percentage of employee bonuses across the business are now tied to the diversity initiative.

  2. Examine how your company is perceived.

    Find out what job seekers think of your company: do potential applicants view your brand as a safe, fair place to work and a place where they can and will thrive? If not, you’ll need to address these problems before you can start attracting—and keeping—more diverse talent.

  3. Interrupt unconscious bias.

    The language you use on your careers page, or when writing job ads, can actually put people off. Certain words can give job seekers an adverse impression of your company culture, and women won’t step forward if they think they’re walking into a boy’s club. Tools like Textio can help reduce bias in job ads and give you the best chance at finding the right person for the job, regardless of gender.

  4. Be transparent about pay.

    This will not only help promote equity for female tech professionals, it’ll also position your company as a balanced and objective place to work, making it more attractive to everyone. Don’t ask about a candidate’s current salary. Instead offer compensation that is in line with what your company pays current employees in the same role.

  5. Promote a culture of flexibility.

    Not all female professionals are going to need flexible working arrangements for family or childcare purposes, but it’s a fact that positions that are conducive to maintaining a good work-life balance tend to be more appealing to all parents.

  6. Implement alternative hiring paths to get talented women through the door.

    Consider implementing return-to-work programs that help women get back into the workforce and update their skills in a structured way on the job. These programs allow businesses to shape new skill sets, while benefiting from the knowledge, experience, and cognitive diversity returners bring to their teams.

    Microsoft, in partnership with niche IT recruiters Frank Recruitment Group, run a paid training program to help women back into work in tech after a break, and has helped a number of professionals build rewarding, long-term careers in IT consultancy.

  7. Invest in building the pipeline.

    There are countless groups around the world working to help women kick start their tech careers—invest in and support their events, sponsor their programs, and partner with them to create a strong pipeline of future talent.

The key to getting a high-performing tech team (which is by definition is a gender-balanced team) is to stop asking why there aren’t more women in tech, or complaining that women don’t apply for your STEM positions, and instead start asking these questions:

“What can we do to get more women in the door at our company? How can we get more than our fair share of the available female tech talent?”

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