Retain Female Talent: Addressing Turnover Troubles in Tech
Employee turnover has become a pressing issue for technology companies seeking to increase diversity and retain female talent. Studies show that women in tech roles have turnover rates that are around twice as high as those of their male counterparts in some companies.These turnover rates undermine the progress made in cultivating inclusive cultures and nurturing diverse talent pipelines. Companies have to take decisive action to be inclusive employers, understand why women are leaving tech roles andimplement solutions to retain them. Doing so will bolster the bottom line and help innovative businesses to fully tap into the entire talent pool.
Causes of High Turnover Among Women in Tech
Lack of belonging and inclusion
Many women in tech report feeling isolated, and without a strong sense of belonging, women are more likely to leave a company. “I think a company’s position on equality comes from the top—both the attitudes of senior leaders and proper representation” explains Sophie Collins, Chief Marketing Officer at MPB, “Everyone needs to see themselves represented and feel there is a clear path for their careers”. Women need allies and advocates in the workplace to feel they have a place and a path forward, and businesses need to foster inclusion at all levels, so women feel welcomed and valued.
Unconscious gender bias
Studies show both men and women hold unconscious biases that favour male candidates in hiring and promotions. When female developers and tech professionals feel that they’re held to higher standards or their contributions are overlooked, turnover risks increase. Mandating diverse hiring processes and using structured interviews helps, but long-term change requires acknowledging and addressing biases through continuous training. This ensures all talent gets evaluated equitably.
Exposure to harassment and discrimination
Harassment and discrimination remain far too common for women in the workplace, especially in the tech industry. When companies tolerate or ignore these problems, they will lose talent. Leaders must implement clear policies, safe reporting mechanisms and accountability at all levels. Showing zero tolerance for harassment while prioritising psychological safety helps retain women in tech roles.
Lack of colleague support
Navigating company politics and gaining visibility in male-dominated fields is challenging without guidance and allyship. Mentorship provides women in tech with advice, advocacy and connections to help them advance, so leaders should facilitate these relationships and ensure women get equitable access to senior leaders’ time and input. “Allyship allows us to challenge skewed social norms and stereotypes and help organisations create a safe, thriving, and united culture for ALL employees. I believe it plays a significant role in promoting a path to a more inclusive and progressive workplace which would eventually translate into seamless collaboration and productivity”, states Vinanya Gunnam, Data Analyst at Adjust.
Inflexible work policies
Many tech companies pride themselves on overwork and 100-hour weeks. But rigid schedules and limiting flexibility takes a toll on working parents and women in particular who are still often the main care providers at home – a key driver of turnover. Offering options like flex time and generous family leave shows companies value work-life balance.
The Business Case for Employee Retention
Retaining women in tech roles isn’t just an ethical imperative, it also makes strong business sense. Having a more diverse workforce directly correlates to increased profitability, with some studies showing over 35% higher returns on equity for companies with high gender diversity. Retaining women improves public image as well, signalling a commitment to inclusion that appeals to progressive consumers and talented recruits alike.Currently, recruiting and onboarding new employees costs tens of thousands per hire on average. Stemming the tide of turnover saves considerable time, money and disruption to a business with each employee retained. Onboarding new hires also leads to lost productivity as teams adjust and bring newcomers up to speed.When tenured female staff members leave, companies likewise lose invaluable institutional knowledge. Having gender diverse teams also spurs creativity and innovation by reducing groupthink, but only if organisations can retain the breadth of talent.In competitive, fast-moving tech sectors, retaining a spectrum of perspectives is key to growth and adaptation. The business case is clear: taking action to retain women in tech roles reduces costs, builds strong employer brands, safeguards knowledge and helps companies gain a competitive edge.
Best Practices for Retaining Women in Tech
Foster an inclusive and respectful work culture
Make inclusion a top priority across the company, not just in recruiting, by training managers in inclusive leadership, but also by implementing processes like affinity groups and mentoring circles to support underrepresented groups. It’s important that leaders understand the importance of taking swift action against unacceptable behaviour, and the right ways to go about doing so.
Provide unconscious bias training
Both employees and managers should complete training on unconscious bias on a regular basis, not only to understand what it is but also identify it when it arises in the future. Training in this matter helps to debunk myths around gender and tech ability and teaches equitable practices for hiring, performance reviews, task assignment and compensation.
Create mentorship and sponsorship programmes
Partner new hires with mentors who can offer advice and guidance, and establish mentor circles for underrepresented groups to share their experiences. Businesses may even look to formal sponsorship initiatives to connect talented women with executive advocates.
Offer flexible work arrangements
Allow for flexible schedules, remote work options and hybrid roles and be open to job sharing and requests for reduced hours. These support arrangements help employees balance their personal work and life demands, without worrying it will hinder their career opportunities in the future.
Set diversity hiring goals
Tech companies should implement hiring practices that give full and fair consideration to women and minority groups. Companies should also set specific goals for hiring and promoting women into leadership positions at all levels. To achieve these goals, they must hold managers accountable for retaining and advancing the careers of diverse employees.The technology industry has to make employee retention and advancing talented women a top priority. Allowing high female turnover to continue unchecked will damage diversity efforts and bottom lines, but tech companies that implement the best practices outlined here will reap the benefits, including increased innovation, improved talent branding and bigger profits.