On Recruiting Women in the Tech Industry
It is no secret that the tech industry is male-dominated and rife with gender bias. Companies like Google and Yahoo have recently come under criticism for biased hiring and promotional practices. Although studies show that women make up over half of the overall workforce, 75% of technical positions are still held by men.
As companies, there is a lot that can be done to bridge this gap and move toward a more balanced, inclusive workplace.
The effort to recruit women in the tech industry is something that has to touch every part of an organization for it to be truly successful. Securing C-level commitment to gender inclusivity and building a thorough plan of action are two of the major steps required to move forward in overcoming these disparities.
From widening your geographic search area to changing how job postings are written, bringing more women into tech is a deep-seated problem. A lack of women in advanced positions within companies is a two-sided issue that has to be addressed from both an upper level and a ground-floor hiring point of view.
While HR professionals must investigate how they are recruiting for positions, managers must be aware of unconscious bias in promotions and training. Additionally, high-level executives must be invested in bringing more women to their level, establishing a truly functional presence in upper management.
Gendered Language and ATS Systems
Writing job postings and calls for applications is a delicate balance of making positions and companies attractive to potential applicants, and being transparent about the challenges of the position. You want to draw in the most qualified candidates while being upfront about the requirements of a job. However, the language employed in the advertisement for technical positions is consistently male-oriented.
For a long time, studies have shown that we use extremely gendered language to discuss men’s and women’s achievements and capabilities differently.
Words such as “aggressive,” and “dominant” are going to attract more male applications than job postings that utilize more gender-neutral or feminized language. Keywords to focus on include words such as “creative,” “compassionately” and “sensitive.”
Being aware of the language used in your job postings factors not only in the conscious choices that job searchers make but the effect that ATS tracking has on hiring practices.
Most companies use some variation of applicant tracking systems (ATS) to manage the often high volume of job applications received for a single position. Since these systems rely on your use of keywords, context, and requirements, how you build your job postings is even more important than ever before.
With job searchers working to build their resumes to break through ATS algorithms, websites like Indeed and LinkedIn use it to suggest job postings to potential employees.
This means that the implicit bias in the job postings that you are creating carry through across your recruiting platforms, reducing the diversity of your applicant pool.
The effort and dedication to building a more gender-diverse workplace cannot only be approached from an HR hiring perspective. C-suite executives, managers, and recruiters alike must be committed to building a more inclusive workplace.
This starts with the impression that a company gives to potential applicants as well as the public, and continues all the way to the elevation of women to high ranking positions within an organization.
Addressing gendered language, and the effect it has on your ATS requirements is an excellent start to diversifying your hiring practices. You can take this a step further in our new and increasingly remote workplace by hiring the best employees regardless of geographic location and timezone.
Not only does this broaden your potential choices, but it allows you to evaluate applicants based on their eligibility, compatibility, and skills first and foremost.
In the time of the coronavirus, companies are having to adjust their hiring practices to include flexible work schedules and locations. As this progresses, take it as an opportunity to overhaul how you appeal to potential applicants and evaluate their eligibility for a position.
By opening up remote working opportunities you can offer your organization new and innovative ideas. However, these initiatives only work if you are transparent and open about your hiring practices and culture.
There is a lot of talk in hiring circles about transparency, whether it is in regards to set practices, gender proportions in the workplace, or compensation. However, transparency means being willing to share the plans and methods you put in place to correct and reverse gender bias and being willing to fail.
Companies such as Unilever and Salesforce have made their strategies extremely accessible, and have openly shared their strategies and the results, both good and bad.
Transparency also means being aware of how different groups search for jobs and addressing as many concerns as possible to attract a wider pool of applicants. Studies have shown that men and women search for jobs differently, with men focusing mainly on compensation statistics in their searches.
Women, however, look for more nuanced information regarding company culture, the experience of female employees, and how promotions are determined. Building transparency around hiring, promotion, compensation, and recruitment practices into accessible company materials means including information on a variety of points, not just compensation statistics.
With hiring methods also having to change in response to public health concerns, companies have an opportunity to update their overall approaches and seek out new methods that will increase the diversity of their organizations.
By building organizational transparency, changing how jobs are advertised, and engaging all levels of management, companies can begin to attract more women to open positions. They must follow this up by providing active support to employees, including providing mentorship opportunities, promoting female accomplishments, and encouraging innovative ideas.
By actively supporting your employees, you can carry your diversity initiative past the recruitment phase, and help create a more inclusive industry.
Beau Peters is a professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he has learned a slew of tricks in the business world and enjoys sharing them with others who carry the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.
Weekly news and industry insights delivered straight to your inbox.