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What can companies do to truly encourage more women into tech roles?

Woman going for interview for job in tech, tech interview

ARTICLE SUMMARY

It’s no secret that the UK has a significant gender talent gap in the tech industry.

According to data from TechNation, nearly 3 million people – or 9% of the entire UK workforce – are employed in the sector. Yet, only 26% of those people are women. 

Historically, this underrepresentation has been fuelled by a plethora of issues from unequal pay and a lack of flexibility (particularly when it comes to issues like maternity leave and childcare) to everyday sexism and a notoriously hostile ‘bro culture’.

Annie Jackson, Head of Talent at Cleo

However, the data also shows that companies that do have more women in senior tech roles fare far better than those that don’t. Indeed, academic research from the Universities of Glasgow and Leicester indicates firms with more than 30% female executives vastly outperform those without. 

So the incentive for companies is clearly there. Now it comes down to making it happen. 

In this piece, we hear from Annie Jackson, Head of Talent at Cleo, who gives us the lowdown on the what companies should and can be doing to truly encourage more women into the tech industry.

THERE’RE LOTS OF DIFFERENT SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT ON THE BEST WAY GENDER DIVERSITY CAN BE ACHIEVED  – FROM THE ‘DEPINKIFICATION’ OF EARLY-STAGE EDUCATION AND BETTER PROMOTION OF STEM SUBJECTS FOR YOUNG GIRLS, THROUGH TO CONTROVERSIAL BOARD QUOTAS AND MANDATORY REPRESENTATION TARGETS. 

As head of talent at an organisation that has successfully achieved 44% female representation on the leadership team, and 53% female representation across the organisation as a whole, these are some of the biggest, most tangible practices I believe have truly moved the dial in supporting women in tech roles. 

HYBRID WORKING

One of the biggest post-pandemic silver linings has been the dramatic increase in hybrid working. We have an office in London and encourage our teams to come in once or twice a week – but this isn’t enforced. The impact it has had on our female employees, particularly those with caring responsibilities, has been immeasurable, with many reporting the autonomy to decide when they work in the office has improved the balance between their professional and personal lives. Similarly, it has also widened our talent pool significantly. Not only are we more appealing to female tech talent, but we can recruit from across the entire country, and even internationally, too – with no reduction in salary for those based outside the capital. 

FLEXIBLE ROLES

Flexibility is key for many of the female engineers and tech professionals we employ – and being radically transparent about this when posting job roles makes a big difference to the number of applications we receive from women. There’s a wealth of female tech talent out there who are looking for part time roles, condensed hours or job shares. Being open to this as a company, and making it clear at all stages of recruitment, puts businesses in a stronger position to bring in ambitious, talented females in roles that work for everyone. 

TRANSPARENT SALARIES

One of the biggest barriers cited by women pursuing careers in tech is the salary gender disparity. Doing the same role as a man, with the same level of skill and dedication, but being paid less is a huge insult to women across the entire workforce, not just those in tech. Committing to greater pay transparency across all recruitment adverts makes a significant difference in levelling the playing field and reassuring women that they are getting paid what they deserve.

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