While the job market for IT and STEM positions continues to experience growth, studies show that women in these fields continue to play a perpetual game of catch-up. From degree accessibility, retention, pandemic-influenced factors and pay gaps, women have been historically under-represented in IT-related roles. We continue to hear of workplace culture concerns and gender discrimination experiences in tech environments, increasing the need for narrowing the gender gap in the tech workplace. According to this latest CIO article, women face issues working in tech throughout the career spectrum – from training and degrees to attaining senior leadership roles.
Through all these concerns, however, we can see a groundswell of change directed at leveling the work field. And with just cause, because addressing the gender diversity gap in IT stands to benefit the entire industry. (In fact, generally speaking, diversity in the workplace benefits all industries).
To address this under-representation, we can chip away at the inequities with direct actions applied to our recruiting and hiring processes and company culture policies.
Broaden your talent pipeline to include Women-focused organizations
- There is a rise in women-led coalitions, collaborative groups and organizations that feature bright minds and talent waiting to be secured. Contact their leadership who can identify tech-trained group members and generate talent leads.
- Recruiters can attend events hosted by women’s groups to network with professionals and identify and cultivate tech talent.
- Organizations can partner with STEM, tech departments and women-led clubs and groups at local colleges to help pending graduates spark career paths.
Re-evaluate your application and hiring process to eliminate unconscious bias
- This could mean adapting the wording of your job post descriptions for inclusivity and removing identifying factors from resume submissions. You can change the interview process by including a diverse team from your organization to draft questions, conduct interviews and weigh-in on hiring decisions.
Celebrate women in your workplace
Make a conscious, deliberate effort to give women professionals a platform in the company to share their experience, their expertise and demonstrate their skills.
- Highlight the accomplishments of women professionals in all divisions, not just those in IT roles in your organization.
- Ensure diverse representation in your collaborative projects and encourage cross-departmental activities.
- Engage the women in your workforce to be mentors to team members.
Take a hard look at company culture
Even with the best of intentions, we can sometimes lose sight of the climate around us. Be sure to take temperature checks regularly to uncover anything that may be amiss.
- Town hall meetings, structured performance management programs and even on-boarding evaluations for new entries can be tools to understand where you need to focus, particularly with concerns to gender diversity issues.
- Create an outlet for feedback. An outside third-party coordinator to help manage internal concerns and discussions could objectively provide data to company leadership as a stepping stone for addressing issues.
- Establish important training to touch on diversity issues, but also include career training for those who would like to enhance their skills or learn something new. Some people might think “mandatory diversity training” is something that large, enterprise-level organizations would institute. But the size of the workforce need not be a factor. There are resources available to scale training to an organization whether it’s a small tech start-up trying to establish a diverse foundation, or a well-established, well-known conglomerate.
- Pay attention to words and avoid comparisons based on gender. One article describes this as “ditching the damaging dialogue.” This is when we use language that devalues the skillsets of women in tech positions.
To accomplish narrowing the gender gap in the tech workplace, we still have hills to climb. However, the good news is that there is some framework to help with the trek. Putting some actionable items in place is the first step to creating the gender-inclusive work environment that will help women in tech flourish and contribute to a successful organization.
At Matlen Silver, we access the best and brightest tech talent and are mindful of sourcing for inclusivity for our clients. Talk with our recruiting experts on how we can help you build a diverse workforce, reflective of your organizational values.