If your business is committing to boosting gender diversity, closing the pay gap and empowering more female leaders, you’re going to need to make some big changes.
The statistics on women in tech make for disappointing reading, as according to Accenture research, there are fewer women tech workers today (32%) than there were in 1984 (35%) – at least in the US.
And when it comes to senior level positions, a PwC report found that only 5% of tech leaders are female.
There are some glimmers of improvement, but progress is glacially slow. The problem starts much earlier than the job market, as PwC researchers found that only 3% of female students have a career in technology as their first choice.
Furthermore, a huge 78% couldn’t name a famous woman working in tech. This could suggest that inspirational female leaders are thin on the ground in a male-dominated industry, but it also points to a lack of amplification for the talented women making real strides within the sector,
It’s clear that industry-wide change is needed, including within the education system. But individual companies can also take responsibility for overhauling their own company cultures, and becoming vocal advocates for a more inclusive industry.
But where to start? It all begins with a commitment, followed by a strategy and plan to make change happen. Here’s some key steps to start thinking about:
· Set tangible, measurable goals. Awell-meaning but rather vague pledge to improve gender diversity is unlikely to lead to real results, so you need a plan on paper. It needs to be specific, clear, measurable and achievable. Make it a key metric, setting targets and holding leaders accountable.
· Improve your parental leave policies. Balance out parental leave so that both parents are encouraged to take time out.
· Provide women-specific support. For example, you can set up a mentoring or sponsorship programme, so that the amazing women who already work for you can inspire the new hires.
· Speak to the women who work for you. Find out what they think are the barriers to entry into tech for women, and for your company in particular. What do they need to succeed, and what needs to improve? The input of your existing female talent could be invaluable.
· Invest in development. As we’ve looked at earlier, gender diversity issues in tech start early. If you want to avoid a skills gap in the future, you’ll need to recruit more women. One solution is to create programmes for entry into your organisation straight out of education, through apprenticeship and professional development streams that feed promising talent into your workforce. If you can pitch this correctly to female applicants, you could be instrumental in bringing more women into the sector.
· Champion your female leaders. Create an environment where female leaders thrive and are highly visible, and you’ll become known for being women-led. This in turn will attract more female candidates. It sounds simple, but it takes time and unwavering commitment.
Need some help? Get in touch with our technology recruitment specialists at UMATR, and we can help you develop a bespoke strategy to achieve your goals.