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Achieving Gender Diversity in Underrepresented Tech Roles

Diversity October 18, 2021

Achieving Gender Diversity in Underrepresented Tech Roles
Kishor Venkatesh R

Content Developer

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Women make up 47% of all employed adults in the U.S., but they make up only 25% in technology roles. This represents a major diversity challenge for talent management teams While Black representation stands at 9%, only 7% of the Latin women hold tech jobs.

Even when companies recruit women and other underrepresented groups into entry-level positions, a higher percentage of women leave tech roles before reaching leadership ranks than men do.

More and more underrepresented groups are already asking the talent management team tough questions about diversity policies and demanding transparency into hiring and talent management practices.

Facebook, Google, Twitter, Intel, and others release diversity reports regularly, revealing that the industry is largely white and male. Progress in creating a diverse workforce is incremental.

Why is There a Need for Diversity in Tech?

Talent management must be aware that a diverse workforce is critical in tech. A diverse workforce enables the creation of better and safer products for everyone, not just one section of society. Research shows that companies with diverse workforce perform better, hire better talent, have more engaged employees, and retain workers better than others.

However, talent management teams have failed to represent women widely in IT roles. Only 24% of computer scientists right now are women. Talent management and acquisition must include recruiting, retaining, and advancing diverse and talented people in their technical workforces.

There are Barriers and Unrealistic Standards for Women

Women struggle to get placed in the technology field. Even after they land a job, their ascent is not any easier. The talent management cadre are forced to set the bar much higher for their participation, and the perception that women are less skilled at math and science is stubborn yet.

But, How to Boost Gender Diversity in Tech?

Below are a few talent management fixes to help women achieve their potential and career ambitions in a diverse workforce.

1. Hire based on potential, not competencies and backgrounds – Hiring based on current competencies and experience is a destructive talent management exercise. It hurts companies financially. As women get overlooked for various levels, they do not gain applicable expertise quickly, preventing them from getting the knowledge and network they need.

Companies must hire based on how curious, engaged, driven, insightful, and passionate candidates are for management and executive positions. Hiring based on potential levels the playing field and allows women to move to deserving positions.

2. Use unconscious bias training on hiring managers and evaluators – Assessing candidates for ‘culture fit’ is the biggest unconscious bias. The talent management team judges candidates to check if they will get along and share similar interests. Since tech is male-dominated, they may unconsciously view men to be culturally fit.

Unconscious bias training exposes people to their biases and provides the necessary thought exercises and tools to counteract those behaviors. In counter-stereotyping for gender, trainees read powerful essays by women talking about their negative gender-related experiences, creating an empathetic and diverse workforce.

3. Compile diverse candidates for hiring, promotions, and appointments – Companies hurriedly hire, promote, or appoint the first candidate they find, usually male. Accepting more women ensures a diversity of quality ideas.

With more women in entry-level positions, many can be considered for managerial positions and appointed to the board, an easy win for talent management.

4. Provide flexible working options – Flexibility retains top talent and fosters a growing pipeline of qualified working mothers. Since the pandemic, 64% of women have wanted flexibility in working arrangements.

Additionally, companies limiting communication hours, establishing set meeting times, or designate days as ‘no-meeting days’ have a better chance at reducing the ‘always-on’ culture and retaining employees, especially women.

5. Use reskilling as a tool – Reskilling is soon becoming a tool to move people away from disrupted roles into high-demand new-age roles. It can provide a new career path and also bridges skill gaps and gender disparity.

Draup’s analysis of gender diversity across technology job roles showcases the hiring trends, the talent hotspots to hire women, and how reskilling can fulfill underrepresented tech roles’ diversity needs.

Talent management teams can use Draup’s talent intelligence platform to visualize diversity, manage talent, and identify upcoming career paths. The AI-driven insights help recruiters to make the best recruiting decisions possible.

Download the report to learn how companies can overcome diversity needs in underrepresented job roles.

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