Studies suggest that women in the US hold less than 20% of all tech positions. And, on a global scale, this figure isn’t any more prosperous, with a mere 10% of women in tech-based roles in Turkey, around 15% in the United Kingdom, and 18% in New Zealand, to name a few.
Despite the growing demand for tech-centric digital skills, it seems that there’ is a severe imbalance concerning gender in the areas of data analytics, and IT. While women possess the same level of competency, creativity, productivity and logical processing as their male counterparts, the STEM sector has proved an unhospitable playground for talented women the world over.
By failing to attract women in IT, companies across sectors are overlooking a sustainable source of business-boosting talent while narrowing their prospects concerning innovation, growth and organisational evolution. Women with IT skills have the power to drive innovation across industries and here we’re going to explore actionable approaches you can take to recruiting fresh female talent for your organisation.
Before we delve any deeper, it’s essential to consider the roadblocks that are preventing companies from closing the gender gap. The IT sector is still perceived as a very male-centric or ‘man dominated’ environment. As such, gender inequality is the primary roadblock preventing technical female talent from either considering or nurturing a career in IT.
In addition to improved working conditions for women, companies must place gender diversity at the heart of their organisation – it needs to be a central topic of open discussion and improvement. An evolution of this nature should start with the men within your organisation.
By working to empower women and break down the patriarchal structures present in today’s IT environments, real change is possible. Something that we’ll touch on in due course.
But, aside from this fundamental issue, where else does the problem lie?
There are myriads of factors relating to the IT-based gender imbalance – but in addition workplace inequalities concerning treatment and salary as well as a lack of female mentors and hands-on training opportunities are also prominent within the industry.
Fortunately, times are changing in IT, with some of the world’s leading companies across industries taking tangible measures to attract women in IT by reviewing their internal policies while offering training & development opportunities to inspire more women to immerse themselves in the tech industry. For example, studies show that international enterprises including Agilent Technologies, Enbridge, General Motors (GM), Link Administration, and StarHub are leading the way in equalising the gender pay gap across all pay bands. A real step in the right direction.
It’s clear that companies across the globe need to take measures to attract women in IT. That said, here are four practical approaches you can take to entice more tech-driven female talent to your business:
As we’ve established, the root of the problem doesn’t stem from attracting existing talent alone – it’s also a case of developing and nurturing a fresh female interest in IT.
To attract women with valuable IT skill sets to your company, you should issue a public statement or publish content on your website outlining your company values, goals and your commitment to mentorship, development and equal opportunities within your organisation.
Moreover, you should encourage your employees to connect with local STEM, or IT careers organisations that support women in tech. This level of transparency and dedication to tech-driven diversity will spark a female interest in your company, giving you the chance to connect with talented individuals that could drive your business forward.
One of the most effective – and valuable – ways you can attract more female IT talent to your businesses is by offering learning and development opportunities.
By developing continuous learning schemes as well as well-compensated internships and internal mentorship programmes, you stand to attract budding female candidates to your organisation, inspiring young women to learn or develop their skills and pursue a career in IT.
To inspire female talent to pursue tech-driven careers within your organisation, your learning & development schemes must appeal to women.To do so, you should use every promotional touchpoint possible (from social media to industry expos and beyond) to showcase your internal educational initiatives, tailoring particular courses or development schemes to women that are curious about a career in IT.
If you’re transparent and personable with your values, communicating your internal commitment to gender equality, your learning and development initiatives will likely to speak to a female audience – closing your internal gender gap in the process.
Your internal culture is integral to the growth and development of your entire operation – so it should be handled with care. By offering perks, conditions, and processes that provide professional women with real value, you stand to break down inequalities while attracting new talent to your organisation.
For instance, tech colossus Salesforce has improved its maternity pay packages for all female employees while offering new mothers free Milk Stork Memberships, empowering them to have their breast milk delivered to their homes when they’re travelling for work.
Moreover, in a groundbreaking move, Deloitte now offers employees struggling to conceive a $15,000 grant to use towards IVF treatment; it’s also launched a New Family Programme to help its employees adjust to their working lives as new parents.
These initiatives really serve to even the playing field, helping to tackle gender inequality while empowering talented young women to pursue careers in the field of IT. Review your policies and real changes are likely to occur.
Influential voices serve to inspire and empower. By branching out to inspirational female voices within the IT industry, developing professional relationships and asking them to provide keynote speeches or help you produce content that will empower women to grow their IT careers, you’ll establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. The more influential female voices there are in the field, the more chance there is for advocacy. By attracting more women to careers IT, we will create more advocates – the kind of which that will inspire young women at a high school level, planting future seeds of talent in the process.
If we do not share our stories and shine a light on inequities, things will not change. – Ellen Pao, Tech Leader, Inventor, Investor and Activist
We need to attract more women in IT across sectors and being inclusive, fair and forward-thinking while offering sustainable training & development opportunities is the way forward. There are droves of potential female IT talent out there – people that can propel your business to dizzying new heights. It’s time to make it happen.
For more innovative insights, read our guide to Using Technology to Enhance Learning Potential.