Gender diversity in tech has been an issue for many years. Although tech companies are committing to increase the number, there is still a gap in representation and pay. While women make up 59% of the total workforce, they account for only 30% in major tech companies. That figure is lesser when it includes tech and non-tech jobs.
At Google, Facebook, and Twitter, women hold less than 20% of tech jobs, contrary to the gender diversity values espoused by them. The quit rate is high for women (47%) than for men (17%). As per a survey, 63% of women feel that they aren’t taken seriously, are overlooked in meetings, and have their ideas dismissed by their male colleagues.
As per a study, the two biggest barriers are a lack of mentors (48%) and a lack of female role models (42%). Contrarily, half of the team that developed the U.S military’s first computer were women. 36% of computer science majors in 1984 were women. But the figure dropped to 18% today, while 80% of software engineers are men.
Where Did Tech Go Wrong for Women?
There is a focus on the individual as the unit of change. Gender diversity initiatives tend to be organized around unconscious bias training and mentorship programs. We must train men to limit bias in hiring and promoting decisions and then train women to be more proactive and assertive. If there is no significant organizational change, both approaches can be ineffective or backfire.
Unconscious bias is stubborn, and making a conscious effort to suppress it has mixed results. Harvard research showed that women who aggressively negotiate for raises or advancement are often ‘penalized.’
We Need a Renewed Focus on Organization and Culture
There is a gender bias built into our minds and our practices and procedures. The individualistic approach focuses on teaching women to fit into the existing mold. We must raise tough questions and change the mold to fit gender diversity.
There are ways to tweak the processes by which they identify, develop, and promote talent. There must be transparency and clearly defined criteria. Gender diversity must be an organizational strategy.
Make Talent Acquisition and Promotions Transparent
We can make progress by introducing transparency and clarity into hiring and evaluation policies. While managers prefer unstructured interviews, structured interviews produce superior results built around targeted job-related questions and tests. They predict high performance and not subject to unconscious bias as open-ended interviews open doors to bias.
Additionally, ambiguous standards for performance evaluations are a disadvantage. Without structure, evaluators may rely on race, gender, and other stereotypes. Contrarily, clear, transparent, and measurable evaluation criteria let women compete on a more level playing field.
Talent acquisition teams must hire based on who is best for the role and congregate diverse candidates. Forward-thinking organizations and visionary leaders always stay ahead of capitalizing on opportunities to benefit their companies by attracting, building, and retaining gender diversity in the workforce. They know that creating and maintaining inclusivity will fulfill their business requirements.
At Salesforce, women shared 31.6% of the company’s workforce in 2020, up from 30.9% in 2019. The company also increased the number of women in leadership positions by 28.3% during the same period. They also conducted four global equal pay assessments to ensure equal pay for similar work.
They provide 26 weeks of parental leave, formal allyship and mentoring, and a focus on metrics, such as making data available to the executive team every month, enabling them to monitor outcomes and keeping diversity goals on top.
Catching up with Digital Transformation
Women will be disproportionately affected by digital transformation. Companies must foster the professional development of women through reskilling. They must provide all employees with the latest digital skills to attract top talent and maintain gender diversity.
The reskilling imperative may offer the opportunity to usher in meaningful change for gender diversity, move more women into good roles, keep them in the workforce, and bring back those who have left.
Talent management teams that provide upskilling and reskilling to women are statistically most likely to take advantage of the opportunity. Companies could easily earn back their investment in their employees by taking reskilling initiatives by investing in their certification programs or programs.
Based on skills gap analysis, Reskilling can provide a new career path to specific job roles. Taking examples of IT admin and support and QA testing roles, these two roles have a high representation of women and are disruption prone. They can be reskilled and moved to in-demand and disruption-proof tech job clusters with low representation of female talent like information security and cloud computing.
Upon completion of the programs, employees would be hired into specific roles. With the workforce continuing to lose women, implementing female-friendly workplace policies reduces attrition and keeps greater gender diversity.
Challenges Due to the STEM Shortfall
Moreover, women are currently under-represented in STEM-related professions. It is the men STEM graduates who will be in the majority. 56% of university graduates are women, but only 36% have STEM degrees. However, they makeup only 25% of the STEM workforce.
Reskilling can flip the odds and offer opportunities in-demand opportunities for women in the STEM roles. 2.6 Mn women with professional degrees and experience are not in the workforce. For women re-entering the workforce, there are challenges. 85% want to return, and 55% want to return immediately, but 54% require reskilling given the pace of technology change.
Have a reskilling roadmap ready so that you can invest in company-wide reskilling and gain value from it. Along with reskilling, mentorship and on-the-job training can also help women gain new skills to further their careers.
Employers cannot rely on the traditional marketplace to fill digital gaps. They must invest in comprehensive and targeted training. It will skill women with endangered jobs and offer former workers a way to return.
Combining gender diversity armed with important skills, organizations can find success in tomorrow’s digital age.
Draup conducted a comprehensive analysis of gender diversity across technology job roles and best practices to achieve their gender diversity goals. The report has insights into the global tech ecosystem, location intelligence to hire quality female talent, and a sample reskilling case study.
Draup’s talent intelligence platform facilitates and amplifies reskilling initiatives. Its Reskilling Navigator enables talent management teams to address skill gaps and answer the gender diversity question. The AI-driven analytical platform enables talent management to provide
- viable career paths for their employees in disrupted roles,
- decreases attrition rates and improves employee loyalty, and
- integrates technology and organizational vision to promote gender diversity.