There is a focus on the gender divide in the tech world, but a new wrinkle was just posted by Cloud Technology Solutions head of people Erica Yates. In the article Lack of Women in Tech Tip of the Iceberg for Businesses by Katherine Lofthouse. She quotes Yates as saying:
“… we have recruiters and HR managers who aren’t tech-savvy enough themselves to truly understand where and how the gap needs bridging,” she said.
“This can lead to huge recruitment costs for businesses while sourcing talent that perhaps falls short of what’s needed.”
This question about recruiters helps to solidify the fact that the gender/diversity gap in the tech industry isn’t a female issue or a specific cultural issue, it isn’t even a male issue or an IT department problem – the gender divide is a company-wide opportunity that needs to be addressed by entire organizations; from the top down, across all silos.
Some say the situation is actually getting worse, I have seen first hand the fact that women in tech tend to leave the industry mid-career for a variety of reasons. Many feel under-valued and don’t feel they are giving the opportunity to contribute; which just makes the gender divide even more pronounced. Business leaders need to address the issue with all managers in order to begin to make a change.
And a change is possible.
From the article Cracks in Diversity Initiatives Widening Gender Chasm by Sarah Fister Gale,
“That’s not to say gender parity can’t be accomplished. It just needs to be tackled from a more holistic standpoint. “Change has to be mandated from the top and the middle,” said Matt Krentz, a Chicago-based senior partner and managing director for Boston Consulting Group, a global business management consulting group. “Companies need to identify where their biggest diversity issues are — in hiring, advancement or retention — then put resources in place to address those problems. That can include requiring diverse candidate pools for every new hire and promotion, creating transparency around salaries, and implementing flexible work and parent leaves to create a more inclusive environment where women can thrive.”
However, if we are ever going to see any significant movement to correct the gender divide in our lifetime, leaders must begin the change process today. Sarah Fister Gale quotes from a recent workforce survey and the numbers are not good:
A 2017 World Economic Forum report found that the gender gap is now so prevalent that gender parity in the workplace won’t be achieved for another 217 years — up from 170 years in 2016.
Despite the fact that 57 percent of college grads are now female, fewer women than men are hired at the entry level according to McKinsey. That effectively shrinks the female talent pipeline from day one. And even if they do get hired, their chances of promotion are limited. A 2018 Accenture report found women are 22 percent less likely to reach manager level than their male peers regardless of their qualifications; and only about 1 in 5 senior leaders are women.
So what can we, as individuals, do to support the ongoing process of creating a more diverse workforce?
- We need to speak up.
- We need to be educated about the process.
- We need to ask our business leaders to examine the diversity within our own businesses to see where opportunities exist.
- We need to look outside our normal recruitment candidate pools to find a more diverse selection of professionals.
- We need to mentor younger women and encourage them to explore the opportunities the tech industry offers.
- We need to be an example that other women look toward as they fashion their career goals.
- We need to work together to make a difference.
Together we can bridge the gender divide.