👩🏽💻 Closing the gender gap: Hiring women in tech
Looking to remove gender biases in your tech hiring processes? Here’s where you can start.
It’s no secret, tech has a gender diversity problem.
And when you factor in the scarcity of women in the field, coupled with the barriers of entry for women to break into tech, it’s hardly surprising that there’s a gender gap and lack of representation within tech companies and their engineering teams.
Employers are struggling with attracting and hiring women in tech. And at the core of it is the ugly, inconvenient truth that gender bias exists when hiring women in tech.
Often, the bar is set exceptionally high and employers have an underlying expectation for women developers to come out of the starting gate with 7+ years of experience and have worked on a number of complex projects without fully acknowledging the uneven playing field and the barriers women breaking into tech have had to overcome.
While it may appear to be an uphill battle, things are trending in the right direction. More companies are beginning to adopt more progressive hiring practices and implementing DE&I into how they hire and build teams.
If you’re looking to integrate inclusivity into your tech hiring, here are 4 steps to take towards building gender-balanced engineering teams.
1. Start by assessing your culture and hiring practices
A great place to kick things off is with a deep dive into your organization’s culture, teams, hiring processes, while also exploring this from the perspective of the candidate.
Are there elements in your company’s branding, messaging, and job descriptions that may deter women from applying to your technical roles?
👟 Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. During the application process, their first touchpoint is likely with the job description posted on your company’s website, or through a partnered job board.
💡 Tip: Take the fluff out of your job descriptions
Less is more. Keep your job descriptions short, gender-neutral and inclusive.
Padding up positions and injecting marketing fluff and gender-coded descriptions ( ie. masculine-coded language like rockstars, risk-taking, competitive etc.) can do more harm than good, and put off women applicants.
Look into tools like the Gender Decoder to help identify and remove gender bias in your job descriptions and ads.
Another factor that comes into play during the application process is self-confidence. Statistics have shown that women typically will not apply for a position unless they feel they’ve checked 100% of the boxes, whereas their male counterparts apply anyway despite only 60% of the qualifications.
Before posting the role, rethink the role’s requirements or must-haves, and they’re absolutely essential or even removed, and parsed out as “nice-to-haves.”
2. Include women hiring managers and technical leads in the interview process
As your candidates move through various stages of the hiring process, consider the stakeholders and decision-makers they’ll be interviewing with.
Involving women hiring managers and technical team leads in the process lets your candidates know that there is representation in both the immediate team and in senior management.
Should they stay and grow with your company, they know that they’re not alone and have a path for advancement.
3. Work with a hiring partner committed to closing the gender gap
As the demand for tech talent continues to skyrocket, more companies are looking to third-party recruitment partners to support their hiring needs.
If your organization is in the process of evaluating external recruitment partners, choose one that truly understands your company’s mission, core values in addition to prioritizing your hiring goals with a DE&I lens.
Your recruitment partner should also have access to a wide, diverse talent pool and be able to build a gender-balanced talent pipeline for your team to review and hire from.
🌟 Bonus points - if they’re able to provide recommendations to ensure your candidates feel supported throughout the entire journey.
4. Build an inclusive workplace culture that allows for women to grow and thrive
The work doesn’t stop after the hire is made. Retaining your talent is equally as important.
In a recent study conducted by Girls Who Code and Accenture, it was reported that 50% of women feel their growth and career goals have been stunted, and as a result have left their career in tech.
Part of the commitment to closing the gender gap is to actively work on retaining and promoting the women in your organization, setting them up for long-term success.
💡 Tip: Include growth resources and mentorship programs in your retention strategy
Focus your efforts towards creating and maintaining conditions for the women on your team to feel included and supported, so they’re able to grow with your organization.
As you’re conducting a thorough review of your workplace culture and practices, take stock of your company’s policies, retention strategy, and compensation package.
Have you spoken to the women on your team, and what are some of the common pain points raised?
Are there bias training programs in place and work perks that can help address and even alleviate some of these challenges?
With compensation, this could include family-friendly benefits, remote work, flexible hours, leadership opportunities, mentorship, and development programs like Locelle, Minerva, and Tech Ladies are a few jump-off points.
Ready to make representation and building gender-balanced teams a priority?
At VanHack, we've worked with tech startups and scaleups to build an inclusive and healthy business, by prioritizing diversity and hiring more women in tech. Browse our talent pool of 30K+ women in tech.