“There are no women out there” is the lazy refrain given by many hiring managers and CEO’s when questioned about the lack of women in senior tech roles.
But how true is this? To find out why employers are struggling to attract women to the sector, recruitment agency Capability Jane delved into the facts.
Collating years worth of results, evidence and analysis from recruitment programmes across a number of organisations, Capability Jane recognised seven key steps to recruiting women in technology. Understanding the thought process behind why a woman moves company is key to understanding how potential employers communicate with her.
“The following 7 steps will give you a road map; these steps don’t necessarily have to be followed one step at a time or in order. However, by implementing one, some or all of these steps, organisations we’ve worked with have been able to significantly increase the number of women recruited into senior roles.”
Step 1: Internal Recruitment Analysis
Gathering insights data is the first step in understanding where your recruitment problems stem. We recommend analysing diversity statistics, reviewing recruitment ratios by gender, analysing sourcing channels and gathering qualitative insights from new hires.
Averages don’t tell the whole story and you may need to analyse the gender split at all stages of the recruitment process to see if there is a marked difference. You may find that the gender split is equal at the beginning but women drop off as the journey progresses. This could indicate that the recruitment process itself is to blame for the low number of female hires.
Step 2: Market Benchmarking
We all know that there are fewer women in senior technology roles but the question is, can you be sure that you’re not missing out on pools of candidates?
Market benchmarking will help you understand what the marketplace truly looks like, where these women are and how other organisations are attracting talent. Benchmarking can provide interesting data points and real evidence that candidates are out there, helping you build a compelling business case for change.
Step 3: Understanding the Desired EVP
Understanding your employment value proposition can make a big difference in attracting and recruiting talented women within technology. When we compared men and women’s critical factors in considering a job, the most important factors for women were the commute time and location, working in an inclusive working environment, and the ability to work flexibly or part-time.
Focusing on these aspects will help to improve your success at attracting and recruiting women into long term and productive roles.
Step 4: Understanding your Employer Brand Perception
Does your target audience know that you have what it wants? There’s a significant difference between male and female perception of an employer’s brand and this affects how a company should present its employment value proposition to its target audience.
We’ve found through our research that a number of brands were not perceived by women to be an employer of choice despite having excellent working practices.
Promoting the profiles of women within your organisation could help to change the perception of your brand.
Step 5: Job Design and Flexible Working
There is no getting away from it – 60% of experienced women want flexible working. The bottom line is that not all flexible working options will work for all roles so understanding and evaluating the job design is an important step in determining how flexible working can be implemented.
We can’t stress enough the importance of flexible and part-time working on the female value proposition, the results speak for themselves.
Step 6: Communications
Women are less likely to identify with jobs that are stereotypically masculine.
Look at your communication materials, advertisements, website copy, events, and job descriptions as they can have a substantial impact on the number of women who apply for roles. Women are also less likely to apply unless they are certain they meet every criterion so be careful you don’t lose out on talent.
Step 7: Sourcing and Engagement
Women that are currently employed in technology consider new opportunities for much longer than men do. This lengthy consideration cycle seems to be associated with additional factors that are at play outside of their job such as family, caring commitments, and a woman’s support network around her current role.
Women can rightly be nervous about moving from positions where they have built up a profile that allows them to determine how they work around their family life. They take a considered approach about engaging with a potential employer, understanding the environment first before they even apply for a shortlist or take a headhunting call.
All these factors have implications on your company’s success in recruiting women. Focus on refining and improving your processes and communications to become a truly inclusive organisation that women want to work for.
About the Author
Capability Jane helps innovative and flexible organisations source talented executives on a flexible, part-time or job share basis, and access a more diverse pool of candidates.