Women in the Technology Industry
The workplace is going through transformational changes for the better, with initiatives for the BAME community, equal pay and gender equality. This really is an exciting time and being in the recruitment industry, we get the opportunity to influence this directly for our clients.
Levelling the Ratio of Men to Women
In particular, we have seen a big surge in “Women in Technology” over the last couple of years. Companies have set out clear, strategic agendas to embed their commitment to levelling the ratio of men to women in the workplace. There are a few reasons as to why there is such a disparity, often stemming from traditional views of women in the workplace, the lack of support when balancing career vs family and women’s perception of themselves.
At this current time, women represent approximately 17% of those working in tech, with a large proportion working as System Designers and IT Business Analysts. It has however been documented, that women and gender diversity has not only social, but economic benefits, with executive teams being 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than those without, equating to approximately £2.6 billion each year. The proof is in the pudding!
Attracting Women to Technology
There are two fundamental areas that are being addressed; attracting women to tech and retaining women in tech, both of which require a separate collaboration of ideas. According to Forbes, women are 45% more likely to leave the tech field than their male counterpart. The graduate level has proven the most successful path for women entering the world of tech, which has been helped by increasing exposure to the industry whilst at school and university and removing the ‘geeky tech’ stereotype. Retaining women often lies with the support, empowerment, career paths and equal pay that is offered for longer term success.
The tides are turning and it is important to highlight that it is not about hiring a woman or promoting a woman because she is a woman. She needs to understand that she is the best person for the job and the infrastructure is in place to uphold, empower and thrive in what is no-longer a ‘male dominated’ environment.
Gender Challenge for Major Tech Companies
The technology giants such as Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google and Microsoft still have a long way to go to meet their gender equality goals as evidenced in this 2020 data.
Working to Support Our Clients on Diversity
Next Ventures work with a number of clients across all industries; from Financial Services, Not-For-Profit organisations and Global Consultancies, who have implemented initiatives to attract a more diverse workforce. For example:
- Return to Work Programmes (from Maternity Leave) – Returnships were introduce to the UK in 2014, as a high-level internship that is professionally paid and can last up to six months. The purpose is to aid professionals who have taken a career break to get back in to senior positions, by boosting their confidence and building technical capabilities. This can be for a variety of reasons, but most commonly maternity leave. Approximately 37 companies offered this scheme last year in the UK, with 90% dominated by the female demographic. This can include phased/part time work, flexible working hours to coincide with childcare and tailored work policies.
- Women in Leadership – Empowering women in the workplace and having designated tracks for women to get promoted has proven a really successful tool in retention. In some organisations, programmes are created to accelerate high potential women leaders in their organisation using seminars, training, employee resource groups to inspire and seamlessly integrate into senior level positions.
- Gender-Neutral Recruitment Processes – Companies are needing to devise a more flexible recruiting structure that takes in to account women’s specific needs and aspirations. This can include the simple concept of gender-neutral language in job descriptions, which has resulted in deterring women candidates should it feel directed to men. It is important however, to ensure that anyone with hiring responsibilities is educated on gender bias and are able to distinguish between positive action and positive discrimination. In addition, the inclusion of women interviewers during the process can create a more relatable and supportive perception of the employer.
Meeting Gender Quotas
In the last few years we have seen strategic processes put in place to aid in the growth of the female workforce, with quotas. At Next Ventures, we have the perfect toolset which enables us to offer every possibility to a candidate and client, forming an innovative, empathetic and market-leading search. Thus, assisting technology teams to exceed their gender equality targets whether it be short term or incremental increases over a longer period of time. This can include but is not exclusive to:
- Building self-awareness, focusing on unconscious bias and conscious inclusion
- Actively sourcing and presenting quality diverse talent
- Identifying and informing our clients of barriers to diverse talent in our processes
With the wheels in motion and the industry awakening to the value both as customers and employees, the opportunities are endless for both the individual woman but also the success of the organisation. If there are any prospective clients or candidates who would like to know more about how we can help, then please get in contact.
This article by Phoebe Gregory
For more information on Women in Technology and how Next Ventures can help deliver change contact Phoebe here: