Posted on: Wednesday May 08, 2019
And why we should encourage the tech industry to be more focused on personality.
It’s well known that the tech industry is dominated by men, but why is this the case? Worth £186 billion, the UK technology industry is one of the largest, but only 17% of the industry are female.
But if we stop holding gender in this sector to such high importance, will we begin to see a rise in equal opportunities for everyone in technology? Will we see a better ratio of women in other sectors also?
The issue doesn’t begin in school, as a higher proportion of females achieved higher A*- C combined grades compared to males in all STEM subjects at ‘A’ level in 2014. It was also noted that the ratio of girls to boys entered for science subjects, mathematics and statistics GCSEs was almost 50:50.
However, just 26% of women who graduate from these subjects end up working in tech after graduation, compared to over 40% of men. So why aren’t women pursuing tech beyond compulsory education? Are they just not interested?
Research from Stanford revealed that references to gender stereotypes, inappropriate jokes, geek culture, and overly technical language were often present during recruiting sessions for technology businesses, and the sessions themselves were commonly led by men. Female students tended to ask fewer questions than their male counterparts and some left the sessions early, suggesting that maybe women are interested in pursuing a tech career but are being actively dissuaded from doing so. This could easily be solved by using appropriate language and being more welcoming in your approach in recruitment.
Things as simple as including female workers in the recruitment process would make a difference in the gender diversity of tech. However, it is important to remember that it’s not just women who will respond well to female led sessions, so make sure to have a variety of candidates in each recruitment session in order to balance the scales for everyone. All industries should be focusing on characteristics of candidates rather than their gender, not just because it will decrease the chances of hiring the right person for the job but also because it is damaging the hope of equality. Communicating effectively in recruitment can be the difference between the right person on paper and the person for the actual job. If you would like to learn more about effective communication in the workplace, visit our blog.
It is also the responsibility for people in highly ranking positions to encourage diversity, of all forms, in tech companies. 38% of executives report that the primary sponsor of the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts is as a result of the CEO, and this is ultimately where all the decisions are made. This presents the idea that if one person begins making a change, particularly higher up in the business, it can affect the dynamic throughout.