We Need More Women in IT

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woman-in-techApple CEO Tim Cook took a bold stance on women in technology. “I think it’s our fault – ‘our’ meaning the whole tech community,” he said. “We haven’t done enough to reach out and show young women that it’s cool to do it and how much fun it can be.” Cook also pointed to what we leave on the table when we don’t encourage more women to contribute to technology fields: “I think the most diverse group will produce the best product.”

Encouraging more women to immerse themselves in computer science, STEM or IT will ultimately lead to new approaches and perspectives to existing problems. It could also lead to a recognition of previously unknown problems. “As more industries step into the digital age, tech will imbue every part of our economy. Computer science is a growing field, one in which we desperately need more top talent. And one in which women can’t be left behind,” writes Anneke Jong.

How to recruit and retain women in IT

It may sound overly simple, but many hiring managers still haven’t figured out how to get tech job ads in front of more women. Women in tech, often having dealt with some level of marginalization in tech industries, have naturally created their own communities — including job boards. Be sure to check out female-centered tech spaces like “Linuxchix jobs lists (global and chapter), Systers jobs list, various GirlGeekDinner lists, and local Women in Tech group lists.”

Companies looking to hire more women in IT — and retain the women that they already employ — might consider a straightforward but important statement: a diversity manifesto or commitment. This type of statement is becoming more and more common for tech companies and underscores the high level commitment to diversity and inclusion within the fabric of the company’s culture. These statements are often posted very publicly, even on company websites or within each job posting.

Another effective strategy that benefits the entire company is to ensure that the women within the company have a strong voice and plenty of leadership opportunities. This can be achieved through the types of roles that women take on in the company, but can also be built on by introducing internal networking events or regular opportunities for women in the company to share what they are working on, a bit more about their background and expertise, and offer their own insights to their co-workers — who may or may not know just how skilled they are. Beyond these affirmative outlets, always strive to provide mentorship and advancement opportunities. Pairing a younger female hire with a more experienced employee will bolster her commitment to the company; if she feels invested in, she will invest herself back into the company.

What women bring to the workplace

“The women on my team tend to be extremely willing to communicate openly and support each other toward team and individual goals,” says Mitchell Cuevas, Senior Marketing Director at TechStars. “I’ve also noticed that having more women on our team has boosted our culture. There’s a sense of cohesion that comes from the teamwork and collaborative spirit that female team members are bringing to the table.”

“In the workplace, women are great at inspiring and lifting up those around them,” says Dana Manciagli. “This is why most women leaders are such excellent long-term strategic thinkers. They are less inclined to rally behind a short-term strategy if a more sustainable approach can be executed.”

Companies looking to hire (and retain) more women in tech might find the straightforward website “Hire More Women In Tech” to be helpful. The site offers a few effective strategies that are easy to employ immediately for a culture shift and more women-friendly work environment.

Do you have a need for additional IT staff? If so, Adecco’s 2016 Salary Guide is a good place to start. Get your free guide now!

Author: Claire Topalian

Claire Topalian is a writer, non-profit Communications professional, and advocate for diversity in business. She currently leads Communications and the Startup Women initiative at UP Global, an international non-profit that builds startup communities through educational programs and events. You can follow her on Twitter @clairetopalian.