The tech industry has historically been notorious for its lack of gender diversity. And while things are definitely changing for the better, the lack of women in tech roles is definitely still an issue. In fact, as recently as 2015, women made up just 25 percent of computer-related occupations. Why does that matter? Because studies have shown that gender-diverse companies outperform others by 15 percent. Not only that, companies with more diverse teams have a 22 percent lower turnover rate and have an easier time recruiting.
The bottom line is that tech companies need to hire more women. The question is how. In this post, we’ll outline four steps to follow as you build a diverse workforce:
- Review your job postings to eliminate gender bias
Whether you realize it or not, many job postings have gender-specific wording that attracts male candidates while repelling females. Male-oriented titles, phrasing, and adjectives can turn qualified women off from applying for a role.
For example, instead of using words like “ninja,” “rockstar,” and “superhero,” use neutral job descriptors like “developer,” “project leader,” or “engineer.” And, when you’re describing your ideal candidate, never use “he.” Women will find it hard to imagine themselves in the role, especially if your company already appears to assume that the right hire is a man.
So-called gendered language can have a real impact on who applies for roles. Some words commonly used in job ads are typically associated with male traits (like drive and analyze) while others are typically more associated with female ones (like collaborate and support). You want to be as neutral as possible and avoid aggressive and off-putting terms. For instance, don’t talk about “smashing it out of the park,” but rather “achieving targets.”
- Review the message your company is sending
One of the first places people go to when they see your job posting is to your website and, if you have one, your careers page. What message does your site or your careers page convey? Are your images all of men at work? Do you have a diversity policy and mission statement front and center? Do you think that the women who see it can imagine working there? Think about including employee profiles that highlight women, their contributions, career progression, and personal experiences working with your organization. If women get the impression you’re not a progressive and diverse organization, they may never apply.
- Involve women in the interview process
Here too, you want to prevent your recruiting process from coming across as male-centric. Involving women in the interview process — especially women who have been successful in your organization — can help relax female candidates and bring out the best in them. They will also be able to give candidates valuable insight into what it’s like working for your company as a female employee. Involving women in this process, even if you are recruiting for a team without any female members, shows that women are involved and valued in your organization, even if you are a male-dominated business.
- Expand your networks
There are many organizations and networks that support and champion women in tech. They have the knowledge of, and access to, some of the best talent in the tech world. They also understand the barriers women face and how to break them down. Establish relationships with these groups, attend networking events, and consider sponsoring internships. Be present at conferences and special events, and make it known that you are committed to employing and nurturing more women in the industry.
What’s best for women is often best for business
It’s clear that hiring more women, especially in male-dense industries like tech, is good for business. It just takes a bit of thinking outside the box and focusing your efforts on attracting top female talent. Trust us, your organization’s bottom line will thank you.
What tactics have you used to recruit top female talent in your organization?