The technology industry has traditionally been a male-dominated environment. Low numbers of female students considering a career in technology reflect this. For whatever reason, women just don’t seem to be as interested in tech careers as men. So how do we make technology jobs more appealing to women? Read on to find out.
Anyone currently working in the technology industry will tell you that there are not enough women choosing a career in tech. The lack of female interest could be down to the idea that women don’t believe there are any careers for them in this industry. When discussing potential career paths, only 16% of females have had technology careers suggested to them – compared to 33% of males.
These are some pretty damning statistics that showcase a massive difference in attitudes towards tech careers for males and females. As such, it’s no surprise that the sector is desperate to hire more female employees, bringing more balance to the tech industry.
So, how can tech companies address the gender imbalance and attract more women into tech? We recruit for many businesses in the IT, digital and marketing sectors, so we see various ideas and concepts that could help attract more women to technology. Here are just a few of the things our clients are doing to improve gender diversity in this male-dominated industry:
Encourage Girls to Take an Interest in Tech
While ICT and Computer Science are both taught at GCSE level, the number of young girls taking these subjects is declining. It’s a no brainer then that to increase the number of women working in tech; we need to increase the number of female pupils choosing these subjects.
One way to increase interest could be for employers to offer educational sessions in high schools highlighting how valuable women are in their workplace. If young women can see that companies include women in their team of tech talent, it gives them something to aspire to.
Provide Competitive and Fair Salaries
The first step is to address the gender pay gap in the tech sector. According to a survey of over 1,000 women in the technology industry, a massive 78% believe that men earn a higher salary than them. These beliefs don’t just come from anywhere.
Without a doubt, the UK needs to do more to address pay differences between men and women in technology. The most recent reports suggest that women are offered 4% less salary, on average, than men. This is an improvement from previous years, but it shows that there is still some inequality in the sector.
An excellent place to start is by offering all employees the same salary, regardless of gender. Companies should pay a man and a woman going for the same role the same wage. Not only that, but it should be competitive within the industry. Women are more likely to be interested in tech jobs if they know they will be paid fairly and have a competitive salary.
Create Gender-Neutral Job Descriptions
Yes, there is a thing as gender bias with regards to your job descriptions. Companies don’t discriminate consciously – they’re not actively doing it to appeal to men rather than women. It’s just that a lot of descriptions include words and terminology that appeal to men. When advertising jobs, avoid titles that are more male-orientated, like guru, ninja, hacker, etc. Instead, use more descriptive titles as it makes it easier for women to identify with the roles.
Another simple idea is to use the proper pronouns when writing the job description. If you refer to the candidate as ‘he’, a woman is unlikely to consider the role. Instead, use neutral words like ‘you.’ Following on from this, it is beneficial to reduce the requirements for a position, only listing the essential skills you’re looking for.
It is a common misbelief that women will only apply for jobs if they meet 100% of the criteria, whereas men will apply when matching 60% of role requirements. However, there is some evidence to show that women are more selective about the jobs they apply for. Therefore, if you have a long list of essential, followed by desirable requirements, a woman is less likely to apply. Focus on what is critical for the role, and you can increase the chances of attracting female employees to your tech organisation.
Promote Existing Female Employees
When seeking reasons for the lack of women in tech, something that stands out above all is the lack of representation in higher up positions. In fact, research reveals that men in the UK fill 77% of tech director roles. Which begs the question; why would any woman apply for a job in an industry if she can’t see there’s any room for career progression?
It’s this idea of having a glass ceiling. Women feel as though they can only reach a certain point in the tech sector before their career comes to a halt. Therefore, women are more likely to apply for a job in tech as they can see that there is room to grow and progress in their careers.
Promoting current female employees and rewarding their great work, can go a long way to increasing the numbers of females in management and director roles. Therefore, women are more likely to apply for a job in tech as they can see that there is room to grow and progress in their careers.
Offer Female-Friendly Employee Benefits
Benefits can go a long way to attract more women to the technology sector. A whitepaper published about women in STEM finds that 74% of respondents felt that diversity initiatives were critical when researching potential employers. In essence, they are more likely to consider roles when they receive female-friendly benefits.
A few obvious ones spring to mind, such as providing benefits that revolve around maternity leave, childcare or support fertility treatments. Some companies implement programmes specifically to attract women returning to work after a long absence, for example, by offering mentoring or returnships.
Providing such incentives will help you find more female tech talent because they will see that you cater to their needs. Even something simple – like offering flexible working for mothers – can attract more women to jobs in the industry.
A Few Final Thoughts on Making Technology Jobs More Appealing to Women
No one can deny that there is definitely an issue regarding women in tech jobs. Too few female students consider these jobs, which results in a low proportion of women in the sector.
Employers must make changes to get more women in tech organisations, providing more gender diversity in tech companies. The ideas and tips above are a great place to start. It begins with your job adverts but runs deeper into your workplace culture and employee benefits.
Ultimately, to make the sector more appealing to female candidates, we must all play our part in creating a sense that there are equal opportunities for all. If you’re not contributing to a solution then you’re part of the problem!
We hope you found this article useful. If you did, please share it on social media and let’s spread the word that women are welcome in tech!