Equality and inclusivity are at the top of most organisations’ list of priorities.
(And if they’re not, they should be.)
But despite that, women are still very much a minority in the technology sector. In this article, we’ll provide some key reasons why you should consider hiring more female talent and some practical ways you can do that.
Let’s take a look at how tech recruitment can be improved to be more inclusive for women.
Why Should You Consider Hiring Women for Your Tech Department?
The facts are stark: just 26% of the technology workforce is made up of women.
But this isn’t about quotas. It’s not about hitting targets and ticking boxes. Tech organisations with a gender imbalance are missing out. That’s because having a more gender-diverse team can mean:
- Improved problem-solving: A diverse team with different perspectives can lead to better decision-making and more creative solutions.
- Better representation: Hiring women in tech can improve representation of your business to your customer base and the wider community.
- Customer empathy: Having a strong female workforce can lead to a better understanding of female customer needs.
- Increased innovation: Studies have shown that companies with gender diversity tend to be more innovative.
- Better company culture: Having a diverse team can create a more inclusive and positive work environment, leading to higher job satisfaction and employee retention.
7 Ways to Increase the Number of Women You Hire
Hiring a diverse workforce, including women, is crucial for the success and growth of any organisation. By increasing the number of women you hire, you can bring new perspectives and ideas to the workplace, leading to better decision-making and improved innovation. However, to achieve this goal, you need to take deliberate steps to overcome gender biases that exist in the hiring process. Here are seven ways to increase the number of women you hire.
1. Use Blind CV Screening
Blind CV screening is a proven technique for reducing gender biases in the hiring process. The idea behind this approach is to remove personal information, such as the candidate's name, photo, and address, from their CV. This way, hiring managers and recruiters can focus on the candidate's skills, qualifications, and experience, rather than their gender, race, or ethnicity.
When personal information is removed, it becomes more difficult for unconscious biases to influence hiring decisions. Hiring managers are less likely to be influenced by gender-based assumptions and stereotypes, and can instead make fair and impartial decisions based on the candidate's merit.
Blind CV screening can also help to level the playing field for underrepresented groups, such as women, who are often disadvantaged in the hiring process. By removing personal information, these candidates have a better chance of being considered for a job based on their skills and qualifications, rather than being unfairly judged based on their gender.
2. Review the Wording of Job Descriptions and Ads
The language used in job descriptions and advertisements can have a significant impact on the diversity of applicants and the overall inclusiveness of the hiring process. Research has shown that gendered language or gender-coded words can create unconscious biases that can deter women from applying for certain jobs.
For example, the use of words like "competitive," "dominate," or "assertive" in job descriptions can be seen as masculine and may discourage women from applying. Similarly, the use of terms like "collaborative," "nurturing," or "supportive" can be seen as feminine and may deter men from applying.
To make job descriptions and advertisements more inclusive and appealing to a wider range of candidates, including women, it's important to use gender-neutral language. Instead of using gendered language, use terms that are neutral and that focus on the skills, experiences and qualities that are required for the job.
Here are some examples:
- Instead of using the word "competitive," use "driven" or "goal-oriented."
- Instead of "nurturing," use "caring" or "compassionate."
- Instead of "hands-on," use "practical".
3. Review Employee Benefits
Another important factor to consider when attracting and retaining women is the company's benefits. There is a range of perks that women may find attractive and which may prove pivotal in their decision to accept or decline a job offer.
Flexibility is a huge bonus for many female workers - according to a YouGov survey, 71% of female employees say that remote working options are important to them, and more than half of women (57%) say they value flexible working hours.
Another interesting study shows that 73% of women struggle to do their jobs to the standard they’d like when menstruating. Some companies are now offering menstrual leave as a way of supporting female employees. Similarly, organisations are also seeing value in offering enhanced maternity leave and pay.
Ensure that you offer a comprehensive benefits package that meets the specific needs of women, such as flexible working hours, maternity leave, and work-life balance. By offering these benefits, you can make your company more appealing to women and increase the number of women you hire (and the number of females who actually want to work for you).
4. Include Women in the Recruitment Process
Including women in the recruitment process can have a significant impact on increasing the number of women you hire. Female candidates may be more comfortable applying for a job and participating in an interview when they see other women involved in the process.
Additionally, having women involved in the recruitment process can lead to a more thorough and diverse evaluation of candidates. Women bring different perspectives and experiences to the table, which can help to identify the best candidates for the job and ensure that the company is attracting a diverse pool of applicants.
Having women as part of the interviewing process can help to remove or reduce gender biases that may exist in the hiring process. This is because women may be less likely to engage in unconscious bias and more likely to focus on the candidate's qualifications and abilities.
5. Promote Equal Pay
Ensuring equal pay for equal work is an important step in attracting and retaining women in the workplace. The gender pay gap is a persistent issue that has a significant impact on women's earning potential and overall financial stability. When women are paid less than men for the same work, it sends a message that they are not valued as highly, which can lead to feelings of unequal treatment and discrimination.
By promoting equal pay, companies can help to overcome the gender pay gap and create a more inclusive and fair work environment. When women are paid fairly, they are more likely to feel valued and respected, which can improve their overall job satisfaction and reduce the risk of them leaving the company.
Furthermore, promoting equal pay can help to attract a more diverse pool of female candidates. Women are often more likely to apply for a job and accept an offer when they know that they will be paid fairly and that there is no gender pay gap within the company. This can help to improve the overall representation of women in the workplace and create a more diverse and inclusive environment.
6. Have an Agency Conduct First Round Interviews
Having an agency conduct the first round of interviews can also help reduce gender bias in the hiring process. By removing the hiring manager's personal biases from the early stages of the process, you can increase the chances of hiring a diverse group of candidates, including women.
Digitalent’s Synergy Package helps businesses by taking over the entire first stage of the recruitment process (including the first interview round via video call), which means you’ll only receive candidates that meet your requirements and pass the initial screening - with no subconscious bias.
7. Create a Supportive Work Environment
Creating a supportive work environment that values the contributions of women is crucial in increasing the number of women you hire and retain in the long term. This requires creating a culture of inclusiveness and respect where women feel valued, respected and appreciated for their contributions.
One way to create a supportive work environment is by providing opportunities for professional development and growth. Providing women with the resources and support they need to succeed in their careers, such as training and mentorship programs, can help to create a sense of empowerment and increase their job satisfaction.
It's also important to create a workplace culture that is free of gender-based discrimination and harassment. This can be achieved through regular training and education programs that promote diversity, inclusiveness and respect, as well as through clear policies and procedures for addressing and reporting incidents of discrimination and harassment.
Finally, promoting and supporting diversity and inclusiveness can help to create a more supportive work environment. Encouraging a diverse range of perspectives and experiences can lead to more innovative and creative solutions and can help to foster a more inclusive and welcoming workplace culture.
Improve Female Representation Within Your Tech Team
As you can see, there are many ways in which companies and organisations can improve their gender diversity and better include women in their recruitment processes.
Great progress has been made, but we’re not there yet. In fact, we’re nowhere near. Let’s keep pushing for change and championing the role of women in the tech industry. Follow the steps in this guide to remove gender bias from your recruitment and ensure fairer opportunities for women.
Looking for professional, expert support in your tech recruitment? Get in touch with Digitalent today and we’ll be pleased to help.