8 reasons you’re not attracting female tech talentDid you know that just 19% of people in the tech sector are female? Despite some improvements, there’s still a long way to go.
We’re now well into the 2020s, so you may imagine that gender differences in the workplace are beginning to even out. But the reality is, despite some improvements, there’s still a long way to go.
Disparity remains on both sides, with men lagging in pursuing careers in education, PR, HR, and social services. Women, on the other hand, are still typically scarce in C-Suite roles (the glass ceiling remains an ongoing issue), as well as finance and STEM careers, such as engineering and technology.
Focusing on tech, did you know that just 19% of people in the sector are female? And Statista illustrates that in 2022 women account for just 5% of Software Development professionals worldwide.
While there’s no quick fix to evening out gender distribution issues across tech, there are some things that employers can do to make the experiences of women in specialisms such as Software, DevOps, Cloud, Data and Cybersecurity better. Alarming data suggests that only 25% of women in tech receive the support they need, and alongside that, two-thirds of women quit their tech careers within 15 years.
If you’re an employer keen to attract and retain female tech professionals in your organisation, read on for the top reasons you’re missing out on female talent, along with our tips for providing valuable support.
1) You’re not addressing the gender pay gap
Gender pay gaps are still a reality within most sectors and across the globe. The frustrating fact is that while this is still a widespread issue, it’s something that employers can easily change.
If you’re committed to supporting your female tech talent in their careers, what better place to start than to provide the equal pay they deserve? If they’re carrying out the same role as their male counterparts, there’s no reason not to provide standard rates of pay with an individual’s sex bearing no relevance to salary or promotional opportunities.
Take time to evaluate your rates of pay and ensure they match with levels of experience and responsibility. If you do discover differences, make the necessary changes to align them.
2) Your culture isn’t inclusive
Allow women (and all minority groups) to feel like they belong with your business through creating an inclusive culture.
Inclusivity means being accepting of all backgrounds, opinions, beliefs, and cultures and providing platforms for voices to be heard. And this is especially important for women who work in a male-heavy environment such as tech.
Take steps to ensure women working in Software, DevOps, Cloud, Data or Cybersecurity are given equal opportunities to voice concerns, develop skills, and progress their careers.
And importantly, acknowledge and celebrate achievements through internal announcements, incentives, and rewards, and submitting women-in-tech award entries.
3) You need to invest more in women
Is training on the agenda for your staff? If it’s not something you regularly provide, it’s time to put something in place. 74% of surveyed employees feel they aren’t reaching full potential at work due to a lack of development opportunities. And females are far less likely to be provided with the same opportunities as men when it comes to reaching high level technology roles.
Although these stats apply to all demographics, it’s particularly important to consider that minority groups such as women in tech are likely to see a lack of training opportunities as an additional reason to leave a role. Or even check out of their sector completely.
It’s important to remember that gender differences are often formed from an early age, but employers can help by focussing on tomorrow’s talent with long-term strategies such as training and apprenticeship schemes.
Provide a clear progression route and prospects for self-improvement to help women in tech to feel fulfilled and remain with companies for longer.
4) It’s time to revisit your policies
Whether we like it or not, the fact is that most home-caring roles still often fall to women. As Avivah Wittenberg-Cox points out in an article published by Harvard Business review, “Even for couples who are committed to equality, it takes two exceptional people to navigate tricky dual-career waters.” She continues, “It’s easier to opt for the path of least resistance — the historical norm of a career-focused man and a family-focused woman. Especially if, as is often the case, the man is a few years older, has a career head start, and so earns a higher salary. This leads to a cycle that’s hard to break: Men get more opportunities to earn more, and it gets harder and harder for women to catch up.”
From collecting toddlers from nursery or taking a teen to a dental appointment, to caring for unwell family members or elderly parents, women are often the ones occasionally needing some flex in their working hours.
So, it’s important to remember to offer remote and flexible working policies, along with a strong maternity leave offering that’ll support your female tech force and allow them to continue with their careers.
Want your people to stay with you for the long term? Revisit those contracts to make them feel valued.
5) You’re not engaging with communities
Supporting women in tech doesn’t all have to be done from under your own roof. In fact, reaching out to your community can help in numerous ways…
From partnering with local universities and colleges to attract more females into STEM subjects and the tech industry, to attending women-in-tech networking events and meet ups, there are various routes to making women feel less isolated.
There may be a lack of females within tech departments, but encouraging them to reach out to meet with other like-minded women will increase their support network. Why not check out possibilities in your area? Offer to cover the membership costs for a females-in-tech organisation? Or even arrange your own female Software Development meet up?
6) You have a lack of female role models
Do you already have successful female Developers in your organisation? Let them help others.
Set up a program where they’re available to mentor up-and-coming women and provide guidance to others. Connect them with schools, colleges, and universities, making sure the same representatives are present throughout your recruitment process, acting as interviewers, assessors, etc. to encourage other women into your firm.
Data shows that the number of women aspiring to be CEOs rises in companies where the current CEO is female. The power of people being able to relate to role models and mentors is essential. So, consider minority groups, such as women of colour in tech, who account for just 5% of the sector right now, and provide them with much-needed support and proof that reaching their career goals is possible.
7) You’re not connecting with other experienced female Developers
The best way to understand how to help? Ask female Software Developers who’ve navigated the industry for some time.
Some of the most successful women leading the way in tech include Lindsey McInerney, who was named in 'The 30 Most Influential People in the Metaverse' and also as one of 'The Most Prominent Digital Futurists to Watch Out For in 2022'. Other well-known females of the tech world include Lucy Ho, Founder of Hackergal, Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud, and Canva Cofounder & CEO Melanie Perkins.
But you don’t necessarily need to speak with thought leaders and influencers – there may be women with fantastic tech careers right under your nose. Enquire with them about their challenges, what’s worked, what hasn’t. Find out what’s helped their careers and how they’ve been held back.
Through hearing about encounters directly from those who’ve experienced them, you can gain a good understanding of the initiatives you could be putting in place to ensure women in your organisation are supported to thrive.
Why not ask us for help with this? We’re well-versed in working with tech talent and those who hire them, so can provide you with advice or put you in touch with a female tech professional who can share her story.
8) Diversity isn’t promoted in your workplace
If you’re dedicated to supporting women in Software, shout it from the rooftops! Make sure you have a diversity policy that lays out your strategy and expectations for creating a diverse and inclusive culture – you may even want to make mention of your commitment in your company vision, mission, or values.
Publish interviews and success stories of your female Developers. Include a statement that you’re an equal opportunities employer on your website, social media, and job adverts. And remember to use gender-neutral language on job ads and descriptions too - there are tools available to help.
Set KPIs for supporting women in your workplace and make your organisation an employer of choice for underrepresented groups. Ultimately, be the change that you want to see in the industry.
While this article focuses on gender, the points apply to all minority groups in the workplace. At Apollo Solutions, we’re working with businesses of all sizes to ensure they’re creating inclusive cultures and equal opportunities to help them, and their employees, flourish.
If you want to chat more about the subject covered in this blog, or about how you can become an employer of choice for the best technology talent on the market, get in touch with us today. Technology Talent Consultants Amie Capron, Rohit Sharma, Declan Foster, Allison Stephens, Floor Nooitgedagt, Jon Dartnell, Izzy Lysaght, Laura Allison and Charlotte Goodyear can advise accordingly.