5 ways the tech sector can attract more female talent
Jacinta Quah, Founder & CEO of JQ Coaching & Consulting, offers a professional perspective.
Recent reports from tech giants such as Microsoft and Google indicate that 30% of their workforce is made up of women, and even fewer hold leadership positions or technical roles. This is in spite of a 2015 study of listed companies in the US, UK and India reporting that companies with women in their executive boards outperform companies with all-male boards.
What can tech companies do about the lack of gender diversity in the industry? Here are five ways that tech companies can do right now to bridge the gap.
- Build relationships with schools and colleges
Build relationships with schools and colleges to encourage young girls to consider pursuing a career in tech by highlighting the vast career opportunities ranging from technical and engineering roles to design and data, and sales and marketing as well.
Young girls also need strong examples. Therefore, it is important to share stories about inspirational role models and to give real insights about women already in the industry.
- Provide resources and support for growth
It’s simply not enough for women to acquire technical skills. They need to be provided with resources, support system and network to grow and accelerate their careers as well.
Mentorship is valuable. However, as the author of The Sponsorship Effect, Sylvia Ann Hewlett highlighted, women on average have three times as many mentors as men — but men have twice as many sponsors, and the impact on career advancement. It’s as important to ensure women talents have sponsors that would pull them through the ranks of the organisation.
- Address the pay gap
One of the positive steps towards gender equality is for tech companies to become more transparent and accountable with pay practices. Have an honest audit of gender representation within the organisation and assess if employees are being paid fairly.
- Implement family-friendly policies
While maternity (and paternity) leave has become common in the workplace, tech companies should consider allowing flexibility in working hours for women. However, to ensure an equal position in the workplace, men should be encouraged to take advantage of these family-friendly policies as well to level the playing field.
- Learn from successful gender-diverse businesses
Research has shown that gender-diverse teams are more collaborative in nature and associated with greater profitability. Conversely, a lack of gender diversity brings about major opportunity costs such as lower stock value and market share, and potential reputational risks.
Understand how successful companies have done this and try to replicate their efforts in the tech sector. For instance, careers such as web development involve a lot of teamwork; the fact that diverse teams have proven to have a positive impact on productivity and profitability should encourage male-dominated teams to hire more women.
Tech companies have the means to make technology an exciting career opportunity for all, regardless of gender.