Women in Tech: Hiring Strategies to Attract and Retain Top Talent

December 19, 2018
4 mins

Studies have shown that companies are more productive when they have a gender-mixed workplace.

In order to attain this gender balance, companies need to devise a flexible recruiting approach that takes into account women’s specific needs and aspirations.

These benefits go beyond simple remuneration and reach areas of women’s lives that are particularly important to them.

Here’s how you can fine-tune your organization’s diversity and talent strategies to achieve better attraction of today’s growing pool of female tech talent.

Competitive Salary

Of course, the most obvious recruiting tool is a competitive salary. Equal pay for equal work has remained stubbornly elusive for far too many in the female workforce.

When a company can establish a reputation as a meritocracy in terms of salaries, it goes a long way towards showing women that their contributions will be rewarded accordingly with respect to remuneration.

Companies must continuously monitor the marketplace to ensure they’re paying women salaries that are competitive with their male counterparts.

Equal Promotions

In a similar regard, companies must make sure opportunities for promotions are equally available to both male and female employees.

When those who work hard and excel are able to earn promotions no matter their gender, the employer benefits because everyone in the company knows that their efforts will be rewarded.

In contrast, when a workplace establishes a reputation as a place where promotions are not based on an equal playing field, recruitment suffers. Recruitment and retention go hand in hand.

When a company cannot retain workers, it factors into its reputation. In turn, that reputation will negatively impact recruiting in today’s social media age, when employment difficulties with a company can work their way into the public sphere.

This extends to awarding women leadership positions. Placing women in high-visibility executive positions sends a message of inclusiveness to prospective employees.

Seeing fellow women in positions of power informs others that with a little hard work and success they too can reach these levels.

Blind Hiring

Utilizing blind hiring practices is one of the most effective ways to counteract implicit biases and create a more inclusive workplace.

Blind hiring can consist of blind candidate screening, pre-employment testing, or even blind interviewing where online or written Q&As separate the two parties.

These systems force recruiters to evaluate the qualities that are truly important for each position, allowing candidates to be judged on their qualifications and merit alone.

This makes it easier for companies to hire top quality candidates, especially those like women, who may be otherwise passed over early on due to unfair biases.

Ensuring a Safe Work Environment

In recent news, Google, Facebook, AirBnB and eBay announced policy changes that allow their employees to take their companies to court to pursue workplace sexual harassment claims, instead of being forced to settle such claims through private arbitration.

Tech companies are facing increasing pressure to provide female employees with a safe work environment. When a workplace gains a reputation as a hostile environment for women, it discourages potential female recruits.

However, when a workplace is known for being vigilant about preventing sexual harassment and sexism in general, word quickly spreads and the company gains a reputation as an attractive employer.

This objective is best accomplished through policies that protect women and in-house programs that act to eradicate sexism.

When companies are forced to act in an enforcement capacity in the effort to shield employees from sexual harassment, usually the damage has already been done to their corporate reputation.

Instead, a continuous dialogue will help shape attitudes in a manner that reduces improper behavior in the workplace.

Female-Friendly Benefits

When companies think outside-the-box with respect to the benefits they provide employees, they are best able to make a positive impression upon women.

While salary is an important motivating factor for potential recruits, sometimes other benefits help send a statement that a workplace is hospitable towards women.

Especially with regard to younger women, attractive perks and benefits can make a big difference in recruitment.

For example, companies with policies that are suitable for working mothers will go a long way towards recruitment. Gone are the days when only offering maternity leave would be enough to make a positive impression on female recruits.

Nowadays companies are competing to be seen as having the most innovative and forward-looking benefits programs.

The winners of this competition are women, who now have better options when considering potential employers.

Some companies such as Facebook and Google are even covering the cost for a woman to have her eggs frozen. Even employers who haven’t gone this far have taken measures to establish visionary benefits programs.

Breastfeeding breaks have become common with many employers who now routinely provide in-house breastfeeding rooms so mothers can feed their infants in privacy. Maternity leave policies have also become more generous and family-friendly.

Now, companies need to start considering providing paid paternal leave as well so families are able to care for their newborn together.

In addition, companies should be generous and creative when it comes to their time off work policies.

As with their male counterparts, many women are most satisfied when they have time off to spend with their families. In order to attract the best female employees, companies should be flexible about work schedules, allowing women the ability to get their jobs done while spending quality time with their families.

Not all work must be completed during traditional business hours. Companies that recognize this are able to better attract female employees.

 

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About the Author

Chris Barry
Chris Barry is a freelance writer with over twenty years experience covering health and lifestyle news. His articles have appeared in The National Post, Vice, Maxim, and several other major publications. You'll find samples of his work on his website looselips.ca.

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