The tech industry has received a lot of criticism for the lack of gender diversity, specifically in technical roles. A fact sheet distributed at the Women Who Tech TeleSummit, showed that only about 11% of executives in Fortune 500 tech companies are women. Many companies in the usually male-dominated industry are attempting to change that. But how exactly can you hire and retain more women for your tech company? Check out these 4 tips on how to recruit and retain women in tech.
Create a Welcoming Environment
Create a workplace environment and culture that truly embraces gender diversity and equality. Studies have proven that diversity improves performance in groups that value innovation. It is also crucial to provide training on diversity topics that can affect the environment. Google, for example, offers workshops on the unconscious biases in the workplace. It's important for all levels of management to lead by example by fostering a welcoming environment and culture in the workplace. Clearly defining goals for gender diversity and equality in the workplace can be a great start towards the creation of a welcoming environment in your company.
At the 2015 Catalyst Awards Conference, Executive Vice President Michael Wirth mentioned that managers at Chevron are rated in their performance evaluations on their ability to reach diversity goals. Involving all employees in understanding gender diversity and equality in the workplace will increase the chances that this new environment will succeed in your company.
Offering workplace programs that are flexible, in terms of scheduling, can be another selling point for your company. For example, providing transition programs for employees leaving or returning from leave, part-time work schedules, flexible work schedules, job-sharing opportunities shows employees that not only does the company value their work, but also cares about their well-being.
Providing flextime and telecommuting work schedules are important aspects of becoming a flexible employer. These options can help attract women to your company, especially those who are trying to balance their roles at home and in the office. It provides a work-life balance factor for them and shows the company values their well-being.
Offer Paid Parental Leave (For Women and Men)
Family-friendly benefits and leave policies are crucial to attracting and retaining talent, especially women. Research from the National Partnership for Women & Families found that workers are more likely to leave their jobs when they do not have access to paid leave. Offering paid leave can reduce the costs associated with turnovers, such as loss of productivity and training, and encourages employees to stay with your company. Employees want to know that they’ll be able to start a family or spend time with their families and not put their jobs at risk.
Provide Upward Mobility
Limited opportunities in their career trajectory drive women out of the tech workforce. Mentorship programs are stellar ways to increase development and opportunity for the career progression of women in your company. By investing in their growth will help them to foresee an opportunity for them to excel in the company. It is also important to encourage female employees to attend professional conferences and take additional training, along with providing financial support for these opportunities.
Research has found that when Fortune 500 companies include at least three female directors, the return on invested capital, return on sales, and return on equity all increased by 66%, 42%, and 53%, respectively. Offering a welcoming environment, investing in development and career progression, will not only help increase your female employees' motivation and investment, but it will also ultimately lead to a more profitable and productive company.