Sometimes employers may not realise that their recruitment strategy is not appealing for women. From the type of language selected to describe a job to a company’s transparency around equal pay, there are some vital steps to take if you’re passionate about attracting more women to apply for your tech roles.
We have put together our top 7 tips any employer who wants to recruit more women in tech should consider.
A 2017 study suggested that close to half of hiring managers admit bias affects their candidate choice. Conscious or not, bias is a hindrance recruiters and hiring managers may face when recruiting women in tech. A solution to this problem is to conduct blind interviews. This consists of removing the candidates name and other identifying factors from their application. The hiring manager or recruiter is then able to make more objective decisions on a potential candidate’s suitability. Blind interviews remove or at least reduce the risk of bias in favour of fair consideration.
One of the biggest deterrents preventing more women choosing to work in tech is the gender pay gap in the sector. A report from The Independent revealed that around 78% of large organisations admitted to having a gender pay gap in tech, with males earning more than females. Only 14% of businesses have a median pay gap for women and 8% have no pay gap at all. Whilst the gender pay gap remains a problem in tech, recruiting women into the sector will persist as a challenge. To show women you care about equal pay there are a few things you can do. Firstly you could publish a diversity statement on your careers or hiring page that details your commitment. Another tip is to think about releasing a gender pay report, and even if there is a gap, the transparency will show potential female candidates that you’re aware of the issue and your intentions are to change the situation.
Mentorships are a great way to draw more women towards your company. They demonstrate that you care about supporting women to enter the sector, but also that you care about creating a long term support network to provide support throughout their career. When recruiting women in tech, mentorships are also a really cost effective way in which a company can demonstrate that they are building a pipeline for upcoming female tech role models, as they signal that retaining female tech employees is a priority.
Creating a positive company culture is key for attracting diverse talent. It’s really important to consider when recruiting women in tech, because the perception of a tech team being wrapped up in ‘bro culture’ still exists as an inherent perception. Women should be made to feel confident that working in tech is as real an option for them as working in any other sector, and that the benefits they need will be available to them. Another key finding in the Women in Tech Survey 2019 was that a third of the respondents said a company’s culture, how diverse they are, and examples of equality would draw them to a job description. Incentives and company benefits that appeal to women especially are a work life balance, opportunities for upskilling to compete for promotions, paid maternity leave, and the option for flexible working as well as childcare vouchers when they return to work.
Language is a powerful tool you can use to communicate your values out to candidates. In 2016 Textio conducted research that suggested that the type of language and tone you use in a job ad can influence the proportion of men and women who go on to apply. This research suggests that it’s important to reflect upon and consider how masculine a job advert for a tech role sounds before publishing it to candidates. Examples of masculine coded language are gendered nouns such as ‘man’ or ‘mankind’ and certain words such as ‘competitive’ and ‘fearless’ are thought to have more masculine appeal. Using gender neutral language in job ads is one method to appeal to more women, but another way to communicate you value gender diversity is to include a diversity disclaimer on the ad. For example: “We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability status”. This will send out a positive message to women considering your job ad, that they can expect a welcoming culture who value gender balance in their tech teams.
Recruiting women in tech is a challenge, but there are specific places you can go to target women who are looking for a job in tech. The Women in Tech job board is a platform for employers who want to actively advertise jobs that target a specifically female talent pool. Another way to actively source female talent is to attend events such as Women of Silicon Roundabout where you can learn more about and discover solutions to the challenges the sector faces in recruiting and retaining women. Attending events aimed at improving female representation in tech is also a really great way to signal to women that you care about the issue, making them more likely to want to join your company.
This tip isn’t directly related to your recruitment strategy, but it ties in to how the company is viewed by women as a whole. Gender stereotyping in advertising can have a detrimental impact on the perception either gender has on a company. Being conscientious about this could really help in achieving gender balance in tech. If a woman associates a company with an insensitive ad she’s recently seen it may act as a deterrent from her applying for a job.
If you’d like to read about retaining women in tech, read our guide here.