How to address gender diversity
requirements in the tech industry

Three digital leaders discussing something on a screen

Diversity is a hot topic right now, and many organisations are exploring how to become more diverse - as well as realising the very real business benefits of diversity. However, in some industries and lines of work, this is actually an extremely difficult task. Not necessarily because the organisations are unwilling to hire with diversity in mind, but because there's simply not very many candidates who live up to both the diversity and skill requirements.

In the Danish tech industry, 3 out of 4 employees are men. And only 27% of the enrolled IT-students are women. Which means a solution to the tech industry's diversity issues is nowhere in sight. But how is this a responsibility for organisations, and what can they do to address the diversity requirements right here and now?

Actions you can take right now

Although the issue of diversity cannot be solved from day to day, there are several steps that organisations can take right now to increase diversity and create a more welcoming company culture for all employees.

  1. Closing the pay gap
    In the latest Hays Journal, we spoke to Adam Philpott, President EMEA of McAfee, about his plan to improve diversity in the tech industry. One of the steps they have taken is implementing pay parity for all employees working in the same roles at the same level and location - while still allowing for differentiated salary based on factors such as performance, tenure and experience.

  2. Gender quotas
    Although gender quotas are controversial, there are ways to use it to challenge your bias. In McAfee they have worked towards improving the number of women interviewing for jobs, which means they'll make sure to always have at least one female candidate being interviewed, as well as putting women on each interview panel. This way they increased their female talent pipeline from 23% to 39% in just a few years.

  3. Women represented in other roles
    As women only constitute 27% of IT-students, they will inevitably still be underrepresented in IT-roles for years to come. However, tech companies still need to fill other roles than the purely technical ones which require a degree in IT. Hiring female talent for these roles can bring significant results, as they can still act as role models to young women looking to get into IT –­ proving that it no longer has to be a male-dominated world.

  4. 'Returnships'
    Another great possibility is to offer 'returnships'. These are programmes which can help bridge back experienced professionals into their roles, usually after an extended career break due to maternity leave, raising a family or a leave of absence. Although we in Denmark have great maternity laws in place, it is still primarily women who will compromise on their career to raise a family – whether this means going part-time, prioritising family obligations over career-enhancing opportunities or turning down a dream job because it’ll be too time-demanding.

  5. Mentoring
    If you want to fill your roles with the very best talent, it's important that your potential employees can see themselves reflected in your company identity. This can be done through mentorships and promoting role models. So if you want to attract diverse talent, make sure the people who are the faces of your company are diverse - this way, you get access to a wider talent pool, as more people will be able to identify themselves with your organisation.

What you can do to help secure female tech talent in the future

By now, we have established that diversity is good business. And one of the major problems in the tech industry is the lack of talent - by 2030 a shortage of 19,000 IT specialists in Denmark is expected. Here, getting women to choose a career in IT is a crucial step to solving this issue. So how can you contribute to securing a future pipeline of female tech talent?

  1. Promotion of female talent and role models
    You can promote your female talent as role models and get involved in internship programmes to make sure girls and young women are exposed to the world of tech.

  2. Early education
    Apart from exposing young girls to the world of tech early on, it's also important to work towards a confrontation of gender-biased notions - such as girls being good at languages and boys being good at math. In fact, research shows that girls are great at the technical and scientific subjects, but lose interest and have less faith in their IT-abilities than boys. Your organisation can get involved with primary and secondary schools to promote the tech industry to girls.

Other important diversity challenges

Although the gender imbalance in the tech world, as well as other industries, is a major challenge, it's important to not overlook other diversity challenges. Such as age, ethnicity and disabilities. This is something which the Managing Director of Hays Denmark, Vibe Puggaard, touched upon in an article in Finans. It's important to not get caught up in gender imbalances and think that you're doing a good job on diversity. True diversity will create an environment where employees can display their full value regardless of gender, age, disability or ethnicity - something which will contribute to a high-performance culture, as people feel they have equal opportunities for growth and promotions.

If you want to discuss how your business can hire with diversity in mind or if you need help finding the perfect candidate, reach out to one of our recruitment consultants right here.

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