The key to attracting and retaining women in tech is to create a truly inclusive workplace culture.
The global pandemic has heightened the need to explore alternative working methods that can support both personal and business performance. Women in the workplace were disproportionately affected by the pandemic and stringent lockdowns. Further integrating D&I and ensuring gender equality and equity has never been more important.
According to a 2020 research report from Accenture and Girls Who Code (GWC), there are fewer women in tech now than there were in 1984 when measured as a percentage of the total US workforce. Surprisingly, 50 percent off women who take a IT job leave by the age of 35.
Given the lost potential, it is critical that the IT industry attracts and retains more women. According to the research report, one factor in particular will make a difference: an inclusive workplace atmosphere.
Maria Campbell, VP of People at Griffin says, “We all know that companies that have a strong, focused approach to D&I perform stronger as a business. Gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic and cultural diversity in leadership teams help to reflect and serve society, but only if those voices are heard and respected. In a practical sense, this means pay parity, equal opportunities for career progression, psychological safety, and a fair playing field in all work matters. We have made some progress, but there’s a lot still to be done considering the pay gaps and unfair biases that persist.
Four Strategies for Building True Inclusivity
Many people are aware that tech isn’t as diverse as it should be, but change won’t happen until companies and leaders take action.
Here are four strategies for attracting and retaining more women in the tech industry.
Inclusive work culture
If a company or workplace gets a reputation for being hostile to women, it will naturally deter female candidates and make it more difficult to retain female employees. It’s critical for businesses to re-evaluate workplace policies on a regular basis to ensure that they correspond with new diversity and inclusion efforts.
Sending out questionnaires to employees is one approach to accomplish this; this allows employees to provide honest input on culture-related concerns and suggest remedies. Minimum requirements can also help to make the workplace more inclusive. For example, companies should have at least one female employee to serve on internal committees that vote on topics such as workplace issues, partnerships, and diversity initiatives.
Salary that is both competitive and equitable
Salary is a major problem for women in technology, both at the outset and during their careers. Equal pay for equal work is critical, and companies must now reveal their gender pay disparity with the introduction of gender pay gap reports. As a result, putting in place open pay practices ensures that women are paid fairly and do not undersell themselves during the interview process.
Return to IT workforce
Many high-calibre women who leave IT jobs or change careers may face challenges re-entering the workforce. Some may lack current skills, confidence, or professional network required to re-enter the IT employment market today. Many face biases because of gaps in their resumes, especially as technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. If IT company leaders and recruiting managers embrace the different variables, they will be able to regain a foothold and return to technology.
Recruitment process that is gender-neutral
Companies must create a flexible recruiting technique that takes into account women’s specific needs in order to achieve a gender-balanced workforce. Simple modifications, like as utilizing gender-neutral wording in job descriptions, can have a significant impact on the hiring process.
Implementing blind hiring processes is another way to attract female employees. They can include blind candidate screening, genderless CVs, pre-employment testing, and even insisting on an equal number of women on shortlists.
Also Read: Women in IT – Achievements and Challenges
However, in order to do so, HR representatives and managers must be trained on gender bias hiring and be able to differentiate between positive action and positive discrimination.
“Being able to attract and retain talented, motivated people is contingent on opportunities being available to all. In the wake of a huge shift in how we work, we can’t assume that people are available and willing to work for a company just because the company has a job opening. This poses a serious commercial risk to every business, and will take action to mitigate. The companies that are successfully navigating the shifting labour market are those which ensure everyone is heard, appreciated and able to make a genuine contribution. When there is a genuinely inclusive culture that lets people flourish, people stick around,” adds Maria Campbell.