Empowering women in tech: Strategies for effective IT staffing

Want to benefit from increased innovation and productivity? Find out how you can empower women in tech with these strategies for effective IT staffing.

Despite progress, tech’s gender gap remains, with women only constituting 26% of the workforce in 2020, and a meager 17% of Fortune 500’s CIO roles. Particularly in software development, women represent just 20% of employees. 

This imbalance not only impacts women’s careers, but could also stifle innovation in companies. So, as organization leaders or IT staffing decision-makers, we need to promote women in tech and inclusive hiring practices, which in turn can drive a diverse and innovative workplace.

Understanding the barriers to equality for women in tech

To truly tackle and bridge the gender chasm in tech, it’s intrinsic that we delve deep and comprehend the oft-met barriers that women encounter while carving out their tech careers. These hurdles typically encompass:

  • Stereotypes: The societal narratives around gender roles often prove intimidating, deterring girls and young women from marching down the path of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education and careers.
  • Implicit bias: Even unconscious prejudices can inadvertently fuel gender discrimination, casting unwarranted favor on male candidates during recruitment or promotional opportunities.
  • Work-life balance quandary: The intense pressures synonymous with tech jobs compounded by expectations to always be at work’s beck and call can overly strain women juggling familial responsibilities, thwarting efforts to achieve a sustainable work-life equilibrium.

By understanding and acknowledging these obstacles, you will be better equipped to develop strategies that actively address them in your IT staffing solutions and workplace culture.

Create inclusive job descriptions and advertisements

The language used in job descriptions and advertisements can subtly signal whether your organization values diversity and inclusion. Research has shown that certain words or phrases can be gender-coded, discouraging women from applying for roles traditionally dominated by men. 

To cast your net more broadly and reel in a diverse array of uniquely qualified talent for tech roles, let’s embrace the following insights when crafting those oh-so-important job advertisements:

  • Sidestep the pitfall of leaning on excessively gendered language (such as “he” or “she”) in job postings. This inadvertent usage might fortify stereotypes about your “ideal” candidate. Instead, pivot to the universality of gender-neutral pronouns like “they.”
  • List only essential qualifications for the role; avoid including an exhaustive list of preferred qualifications that may inadvertently discourage potential applicants.
  • Showcase your organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion (e.g., employee resource groups, mentorship programs) within the job ad.

Incorporate diversity into your recruitment process

A diverse team is more likely to bring different perspectives, ideas, and problem-solving approaches to your organization. This is why it’s crucial to make diversity a priority within your IT staffing process. Consider implementing the following strategies:

  • Partner with organizations or networks (such as Women Who Code) that are dedicated to supporting women in tech.
  • Attract applicants from nontraditional backgrounds or through alternative sources, such as coding boot camps or online courses.
  • Create internships, apprenticeships, and mentorship schemes specifically designed for women pursuing careers in technology.

Promote a supportive and inclusive workplace culture

Holding onto the dazzling female talent you’ve brought on board is every bit as crucial as the hiring itself. Therefore, creating a nurturing workplace environment, where women feel seen, appreciated and supported, is non-negotiable. Here are some thoughtful strides you can make in manifesting such an atmosphere:

  • Grant the gift of flexibility with working hours or offer the possibility of remote work. These adaptations can be a lifeline for employees grappling with family duties or juggling a myriad of personal commitments.
  • Foster a culture of mentorship and sponsorship by encouraging experienced staff members to support women in tech roles throughout their career journey.
  • Ensure that performance evaluations are inclusive and unbiased; consider incorporating anonymized feedback tools, objective metrics, and regular check-ins with employees about their goals and career progression.

Increase the visibility of female leaders in tech

A lack of visible role models can discourage young women from pursuing careers in tech. By actively celebrating achievements by women leaders within your organization, you can help inspire others to follow similar paths. Actions might include:

  • Promoting women at leadership levels and giving them more opportunities to showcase their skills.
  • Creating forums or panels where women can share their experiences and encourage dialogue about challenges faced by women in tech.
  • Recognizing accomplishments of female staff members through awards, promotions, or public acknowledgment (e.g., featuring them in company newsletters or blogs).

Invest in employee training and development

Organizations with a culture of continuous learning and development are better positioned to retain talent and create an inclusive environment. To empower women in technology roles, consider:

  • Offering professional development programs specifically tailored for women, such as leadership training, project management courses, or networking events.
  • Prioritizing diversity and inclusion training for all staff members to help foster an inclusive workplace culture.

Promoting women in tech fuels innovation

Promoting women in tech not only ensures equality, but fuels innovation and productivity. Identifying hurdles, developing inclusion-focused IT strategies, and fostering diversity helps bridge the gender gap. Continuously assessing these efforts ensures progressive change, leading to a diverse, innovative tech environment.