Did you know that here in the UK, only one in six tech specialists are women? It’s no secret that there is a global shortage of women in tech roles. Earlier this year the UK tech industry was valued at an eye watering £1 trillion and there’s been another noticeable surge in demand for tech skillsets since. Here’s our advice for increasing the representation of women in your tech company and enjoying the benefits of a more diverse gender balanced workforce.
As the saying goes, you can’t be what you can’t see. One of the most common reasons for the lack of women in tech is that there simply aren’t enough prominent role models in the sector. Be present on the topic. Share stories of the women in your company, what they do, and how they got into the role.
Social media posts, behind the scenes blog articles and advertorials in tech publications can all work to spread the message. Championing the women in your company like this is a simple but effective way to increase the number of diverse tech stories being shared in your network. You never know who you may inspire into a future career in tech.
Review the Language you use in Job Adverts
In order to attract a diverse range of applications, make sure you pay attention to the language you use within your job adverts in order to eliminate any unconscious bias. Some words are obviously gendered such as ‘chairman’ or ‘barman’ or ‘policewoman’ but others are more subtle. For example, using terms like ‘headstrong’ or ‘outspoken’ or ‘dominant’ are considered to be masculine whereas ‘gentle’ or ‘supportive’ or ‘empathetic’ are considered to be feminine.
Of course, it can be tricky to spot these words, especially if you’re the one that’s written them. It helps to get an outside perspective. Asking a diverse range of people to proof read your advert may help you to spot any unconscious bias or create a deliberate bias if that’s what you’re trying to achieve. There are companies out there that specialise in this stuff, so you could seek professional help to review the language you use.
Reviewing your writing strategy, and your overall hiring processes, may unlock a lot of brilliant new applicants for you.
Offer Equal Pay and Benefits
This sounds like no-brainer, but you’d be amazed how prevalent the gender pay gap still is. As of February 2022, the UK average gender pay gap is still a shocking 15.4%. If you want to encourage more women to work in your tech business, you need to offer equal benefits and pay. Transparency is key here. Provide a clear structure and messaging on how people can progress with your company, regardless of who they are. Of course, actions speak louder than words, so make sure you implement your processes fairly and consistently.
Educate Yourself and Your Team
Diversity and inclusion training for you and your team is important. It’s all very well hiring more diverse team members, but it’s the day-to-day experiences that will encourage them to stay. Which brings us onto our next point.
Retain Your Talent
A study by Girls Who Code and Accenture found that half of the young women who go into tech jobs leave by the time they’re 35. This is primarily due to non-inclusive company culture, with 37% listing this as the reason. It’s on tech businesses to do better and ensure they provide an inclusive culture that supports and nurtures everyone, regardless of gender. Ask people in your company how they want to be supported. Then ensure you follow up, even if it’s to give a reason why you can’t implement a certain initiative.
Equal opportunities should be provided for everyone at your workplace, this goes for everything from roles and responsibilities to social events to progression and promotions. Keep diversity on the agenda and keep reviewing your company’s progress in these areas in order to continuously improve.
Offer Work Experience, Apprenticeships or Mentoring
Often, interest in a certain career path comes from having knowledge of it. If you have a female role model in your life who is/was a Software Engineer, you might be more likely to look at doing it yourself. The more people can learn about the benefits of working in tech, the better. You can help spark peoples’ interest by offering work experience, apprenticeships, or mentoring opportunities at your company.
There are also fantastic networks, such as Innovate Her which offer a whole range of training and learning opportunities. For the women you already have in your team, Innovate Her provides a colleague ambassador programme which allows your team to do some personal development and work with the next generation of women in tech.
Need Support with Tech Recruitment?
As a female led tech recruitment business, we’ve placed thousands of tech positions across the North East and beyond over the 20 years we’ve been around. Get in touch for a chat if you have a role to fill, or if you just want to discuss about how to promote more gender diversity in the workplace.