According to a 2018 report by Deloitte Access Economics women comprise just 28% of the tech workforce in Australia. The good news is this is better than many other countries, however there is still room for improvement.
At the same time, it’s proven that companies that address gender imbalance experience significant and wide-ranging benefits. The Case for Investing in Women research report highlights the benefits companies realise by improving the balance of women in the workforce as:
- Improved operational and financial performance
- Increased innovation
- Better problem solving and group performance; and
- Enhanced company reputation
In short, it makes business sense to make inclusion a priority.
Here are five key ways to attract more women in tech.
1. Female Role Models and Mentors
Women are challenging boundaries in many industries, and tech should be no different. One of the most effective ways to attract more women in tech is to have women in senior positions across the business, and establishing appropriate mentor programs.
Female Senior Executives
Research indicates minority groups often have higher levels of imposter syndrome. Therefore when all senior executives are men, women feel less confident in applying for roles.
Marketing & Product Development
Women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchases, through a combination of their buying power and influence. Therefore it makes sense to have women involved in product development and marketing roles as they understand the wants, needs and desires of women consumers.
Women naturally nurture and help others around them. Having mentor programs that women can be a part of is very attractive for female candidates.
2. Implement a Strong Gender Diversity and Inclusion Strategy
How do you attract more women in tech when you don’t have many female employees in the first place?
It starts with having a strong gender diversity and inclusion strategy focused on achieving measurable targets that aren't just about meeting quotas.
A Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) strategy can create and support a strong culture for all employees. For example:
- Sanitary items provided in female bathrooms
- Dedicated rooms for women to breastfeed (or pump)
- Training and education for all staff on unconscious bias
- Inclusive writing and communications
3. Offer Competitive Benefits and Increased Flexibility
Research has shown that women in tech value benefits and flexible working hours more highly than men do when it comes to selecting an employer. Although flexible working hours is also becoming increasingly popular for men, as more are taking more active participation in their children's development.
Flexible working arrangements reduces barriers faced by employees with caring responsibilities. Flexitime, working from home and job sharing are just a few of the options organisations might consider offering.
Offering generous parental leave for both the Primary and Secondary Carer (regardless of gender) can also help attract female talent. Also consider other alternatives to help new parents in the workforce such as childcare support and private health insurance.
This will help to cement your reputation as an attractive and empathetic employer and attract more women in tech.
4. Staff Training & Internal Events
An inclusive workplace is highly attractive to potential candidates. Highlight your workplace’s inclusive efforts when advertising new roles to make potential candidates feel welcome.
Companies are ensuring inclusivity by training employees in leadership roles on inclusion. This will help foster acceptance in the workplace.
Some employers are implementing small events to celebrate the individual differences of their employees. Consider doing an annual International Women’s Day celebration, or other events for females in the workplace.
This not only helps employees feel appreciated but also fosters networking opportunities.
You could also invite successful females in tech to be included on a panel, or do a talk. This can inspire your female employees.
5. Target Females in Recruitment
Target your recruitment efforts towards women using gender-neutral language, and emphasising soft skills.
Also consider partnering with local schools and organisations that promote women (and girls) in STEM. Offering work experience and internships is a great way to nurture future talent.
With goodwill and a spirit of collaboration, individuals and organisations can both play a role in helping attract more women in tech.