The gender gap is no news. While efforts in attracting and nurturing present and future women in tech have taken strides, we know this is just the tip of the iceberg.
And as the pandemic continues to unfold, business leaders need to roll up their sleeves if they want to reverse this trend that plagues the tech industry in a bid to eventually close the gender gap once and for all.
Women and Salary Increase
Let’s take salaries as an example. A recent report carried out by Nigel Frank International revealed that only one in four female tech professionals felt comfortable enough to ask their employer for a salary increase. A further 31 percent specified they’d feel uncomfortable asking for a raise, with a lack of knowing how to ask and feeling that their employer should value them enough to offer one being amongst the most-cited reasons.
These statistics, combined with the ever-present gender pay gap, weigh heavily on female talent in the tech industry. It’s no wonder that another study by Accenture and Girls Who Code found that women are leaving tech roles at a 45 percent higher rate than men.
Employers worldwide need to step up their game to ensure inclusive policies are in place to create an unbiased (as possible) environment, unconscious or not. This way, all employees feel valued and empowered with the confidence needed to succeed. Undoubtedly, this will conceive a more comfortable space to ask for a raise.
Mass Workforce Exodus Among Women
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s been a massive reduction in the number of women who make up the workforce.
The New York Times found that 900,000 of the 1.2 million American parents who have had to leave their jobs in the past year were women. So as businesses build post-pandemic plans, it’s of utmost importance they warrant their strategies to tackle the unjust effects of this crisis, ensuring they don’t lose women talent along the way.
Offering benefits such as homeworking, flexible hours and additional vacation time can be a good starting point for businesses to attract and retain more women, particularly those who also want to raise families. And while companies worldwide are doing some great ED&I work, these numbers are a clear indicator that more can be done — or can be done better.
The Importance of Communication and Mentorship
I can’t help but emphasize the importance of communication when discussing benefits and initiatives. Assumption is no longer a good enough solution.
If employers want an engaged, productive and happy workforce, they need to get ready to listen. Whether that’s frequent one-on-one meetings, anonymized surveys, workshops — or a mix of all — asking your employees for feedback will help you see blind spots in your strategy, particularly in light of the statistics above.
Improved or reviewed communication is just as essential as its frequency, particularly when it comes to the leaky pipeline to female career progression. Even if they choose to remain in the workforce, 66% of women have reported that there is no clear career path for them at their current companies.
Studies have found that women are more likely to receive vague feedback and personality criticism during their evaluations, making it more difficult for them to imagine a future in their careers. Without the ability to envision personal progress, employees are far more likely to quit or maintain a stagnant position within their field.
Mentoring is another support giant. Women mentors can guide mentees up the corporate ladder, creating a support network to this equip people with tools to deal with particularly challenging situations in the workplace that could be hindering them from progressing or remaining in their careers.
So facilitating the creation of mentorship within businesses creates a win-win situation — women workers are guided and empowered while companies simultaneously retain valuable team talent.
Creating an Equal, Diverse and Inclusive Industry
We all stand to win in an industry that’s truly diverse, inclusive and equal for all. Not only will we finally close the damaging gender gap in tech, but we’ll stand a chance to close the ever-growing tech skills gap. This has never been as crucial, as more companies are undergoing digital transformations at an even more accelerated pace.
We’re not exactly sure what the future of work will look like post-pandemic, but if there’s one thing we do know, it’s that it’s changing. We’re going to need everyone on board. To do so, companies will fail if they do not ensure everyone within their teams has what is necessary for them to be their best selves.
This is the only way we can face the challenges that the future holds and turn them into opportunities for all.
Zoë Morris serves as the President of Nigel Frank International and oversees their ongoing business and sales operations, employee training, and hiring initiatives. Zoë studied Psychology at the City, University of London and has nearly 20 years’ experience in the recruitment industry. Under Zoë’s leadership, Nigel Frank International has consistently achieved substantial year-on-year growth as well as winning many industry awards.
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