We could start this article by explaining all the ways that a business benefits from a truly inclusive workplace. Increases in productivity, bigger talentpool, broader perspectives. But the hope is, that if you’re reading this you’re already sold on the why. You’re struggling with the how.
How do you create an inclusive future? How can the tech industry support and encourage more women to take on roles in the sector? What else can we do? We don’t have all the answers, but we definitely have a starting point.
With a surge in demand for tech jobs the sector has seen an incredible recovery from the pandemic, with the number of tech jobs 42% higher in June 2021 then in June 2019. But what role do women play within those jobs?
As of 2022, women held just 26.7% of technology jobs globally. That’s not to say progress hasn’t been made. Research by Deloitte shows that the 20 largest tech companies have maintained their momentum in gender inclusivity over the past two years. With overall female representation up just over 2% from 2 years prior.
The tech industry has always been male dominated. A PwC study found that only 3% of women say a tech career is their first choice. That’s something the industry is aware of and taking steps to address. But what’s also clear is that more needs to be done to create a truly inclusive future and to make sure that women are front and centre in that future.
For tech companies that are serious about creating a more inclusive workplace, workforce and future there are basic steps that can be taken. Focusing on supporting your employees, opening doors and leading by example tech firms can start to create a working environment that welcomes and supports women.
The starting point is to be truly honest about your company's current situation. What’s your gender balance? What’s your gender pay gap? What’s your flexible working policy and is it adhered to? How are you supporting women’s career progression? Have you spoken to women in your workplace about their needs?
Taking an honest look at your inner-workings allows you to make informed decisions that help achieve an inclusive future, rather than guessing about what might help.
The tech industry is notorious for burnout and long-hours. For many women who take on the bulk of caring responsibilities that’s simply not an option. After having one child, the Career after Babies report found that 89% of all working mothers leave the full time workforce within 3 years of having children. Showing that full time work and long hours simply isn’t sustainable with having a young family.
Tech companies need to build flexible working, whether that’s compressed hours, working remotely, part time, job shares or any other measures into their working culture. With senior managers fully supporting and enforcing flexible working to make it a success.
With so few female leader role models, it makes it difficult for women to forge a path to the top, or have the belief that they can do it. That’s where mentoring comes in.
Being paired up with a mentor helps women have a safe space to discuss any challenges they’re facing, and navigate through them. In companies with established mentoring schemes they’re found it helps develop leadership skills, increase self-confidence and navigate career obstacles. The results speak for themselves, with 25% of mentees advancing up a pay grade compared to 5% of non-mentored women.
From an employer’s perspective mentoring can improve employee retention rates. With 49% of those surveyed in a case study by Randstad less likely to leave after participating in a mentoring program.
A mentoring program is a clever way not only to keep those in the tech industry engaged, but also to attract and support more women into the sector.
Creating a more inclusive future for women in the tech industry starts early. We need to look at initiatives that create interest from school years in STEM subjects and then keep girls interested throughout their further studies.
That requires investment, it requires forward thinking and it requires commitment.
There’s no quick fix to creating a more inclusive future. But the tech industry can be the ones to pioneer change, to flex to support women and to create an environment where women thrive alongside their male counterparts.
Listening, flexibility and mentorship might not be the only things needed but they’re a great starting point for any business to show their commitment to inclusivity and to start to move forward.
Source Technology, as part of Source Group International are dedicated to discovering technology talent to drive your business forward. If you’re passionate about building an inclusive future for your organisation then speak to our experts today. Find out more about how we can work with you here.