How to attract and retain female tech talent

Women are still underrepresented in tech, here's how to make your firm more gender inclusive

Female representation in the tech sector is far from equal; in Europe, only 17% of ICT specialists are women while 46% have reported discrimination. The world’s largest tech companies including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have a female workforce of around 34.4%.

These recent statistics, and countless others, show that tech organisations must do more to recruit and retain female talent if they want to create diverse teams that create innovative products. Here are five ways for tech firms to attract and retain female tech talent today.

1. Communicate inclusivity in your communications

Your mission of gender inclusivity should be evident before female candidates apply for roles. Using your website and social media channels, communicate your values as an inclusive workplace, as well as share news about women in tech, and highlight events and initiatives your firm organises and supports that further women in the industry. You should highlight senior women in your organisation online too.

2. Review the application, interview, and onboarding process

When posting job advertisements, balance the use of male and female-coded words such as ‘analyse’ or ‘independent’ (male) and ‘considerate’ or ‘dependable’ (female) when describing desired attributes. Don’t overuse male-related words at the expense of female ones (or vice-versa) as this may favour one group.

Ensure senior job postings are decoded of stereotypically male words like ‘competitive’ or ‘confident’ and avoid using feminine coded words like ‘supportive’ or ‘responsible’ to describe supporting roles.

Avoid focusing the job posting on ‘requirements’ and instead emphasise what you expect the candidate to achieve; as women are less likely to apply for a job unless they meet nearly 100% of the requirements.

Making the process of evaluating CVs blind by removing names can help make the first stage of recruitment a more inclusive process for female candidates and other groups.

At the interview stage, including women, especially senior women in the process can help the female candidate visualise the organisation and the potential for career progression. When onboarding female candidates, especially if they are junior, assign them to a senior female professional as a mentor for the first few weeks as this could turn into a long-term relationship.

3. Identify the top three challenges that female employees face

Some of the biggest challenges women encounter in their careers include a lack of resources to excel, obtaining leadership roles, and fighting self-doubt. Women can face extra challenges in finding their own voice, speaking up, and being firm without being perceived in a negative light. Challenges will be different for every woman, so take the time to figure out how the employees at your organisation truly feel, narrow down achievable goals, and develop realistic solutions.

4. Allow the space for women’s groups

Giving women the opportunity to network with one another throughout the organisation and talk about their challenges and solutions with others is a great way to enhance communication, creativity, thought leadership, and even job productivity. One of the most valuable components of a women’s group is being given the chance to meet and talk with women across numerous roles and functions within the company where new ideas and future programmes can be created.

5. Determine the opportunities female employees want

Once the groups are set up, it’s easier for companies to discern the kinds of opportunities that their female employees are interested in, as well as the different measures that can be taken in implementing the programmes. Through repeated discussion and ongoing meet-ups, everyone can get a better idea of their goals and the steps needed to achieve them.

In this article, you learned that:

  • Highlighting senior women in your organisation online can help people see your firm as gender-inclusive
  • Allowing the space for women’s workplace groups can boost job productivity and spearhead more initiatives
  • When posting job advertisements, balancing the use of male and female-coded words can encourage more gender diversity in the application process
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