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Recruiting Women for Top Technology Jobs: WE CAN DO IT!

Lionseye insights from AC Lion

We see it every day.  Those depressingly low numbers of women in tech jobs, especially leadership positions.  As a leading digital recruiter, and with our strengths residing in the areas of emerging platforms as well as the tech industries, AC Lion recruiters as well as those across the country see those statistics on the low number of women in technology. Solutions are not easy nor immediate but we owe it to our candidates and clients alike to offer creative approaches to this problem.

How bad is it? Google self-reported that as of January 2015, women still held only 30% of Google’s jobs. Women now make up 18% of Google’s technical employees, but that’s up one measly percentage point from 2014. Wired reported, “Only 11% of all engineers in the U.S. are women, according to the Department of Labor.”

Ann Friedman wrote cleverly about the issue in The Washington Post “The tech industry may have a problem with women, but women don’t have a problem with technology.”

How do we, as recruiters, bring women into the tech space? Here are some tips.

Get Involved with Women’s Tech Groups: Networking

We’re huge fans of networking and have participated with Women in Wireless, a non-profit group promoting women in mobile and digital media.  AC Lion recruiters have spoken on such topics as “Closed Mouths Don’t Get Fed,” a webinar on negotiating jobs and Upward Mobility, about women building companies in the NYC start up scene, and how those companies are appealing to female customers.

According to the Washington Post, “… there’s a huge network of women in tech, and they’re working together to transform the industry — and each other’s careers.” We can expand our net in finding outstanding candidates by getting more involved with organizations that have sprung up like Girls Who Code, Women Who Code, Black Female Coders and Latinas in Computing.

Make Hiring Women a Priority

Alexis Maybank, founder of and strategic adviser to Gilt Group, says, “Corporations can prioritize the hiring of more women in their recruiting and outreach efforts.” As recruiters, we can suggest to our clients how to shore up their weaknesses, especially if they lack women in their technology and engineering sectors.

Will Your Female Candidate be the Only Woman at the Table?

Consider the interview process–how and by whom she will be interviewed?  “People won’t want to come to a place where they are, say, the only…female on the team,” reminds Jane Chwick, a retired partner of Goldman Sachs and former co–chief operating officer of the technology division.

Also consider if your female tech candidate will be interviewed by a man at your own agency. ThoughtWorks, a Chicago-based tech consulting firm, tries to ensure at least one female interviewer is included in the interview process.

Combat Unconscious Bias in Hiring

According to Scientific American, research from Yale on scientists presented with application materials for a lab manager position showed that given the same application, half showing male names and half showing female names, scientists rated the female applicants significantly lower than males in competence levels and on whether they’d hire them.

ThoughtWorks combats the unconscious biases that lead interviewers to hire someone who looks like themselves by having interviewers reflect on prejudices that may have crept into their assessments. This aspect proved key in increasing the numbers of women hired over five years.

Rachel Wenig

What’s the Company Culture?  And What’s Reflected Online?

Many job seekers check out a prospective employer on Glassdoor, Indeed, Wikipedia, etc. before interviewing. What do your company pictures and job listings reflect about your culture?  Is it the stereotypical Silicon Valley bro-centered start-up?

Those well-written job listings might actually include words that show a company’s culture as unwelcoming and male-dominated. (See Stephen Shearman’s article, “You Don’t Know It, But Women See Gender Bias in Your Job Postings”)

Gender Diversity Helps You with Your Clients, Too

Diversity in the workplace is not just a do-gooder idea but has business benefits.  It helps bring other viewpoints and ideas to the table regarding market insights, problem-solving and networking.  Companies cannot afford to ignore 50% of the potential customers out there.  That’s a lot of revenue left on the table.

Advocate for More Women

“Being an advocate means…(you) advocate for (women) to move into roles or be exposed to… jobs that maybe they wouldn’t have otherwise had access to or known about, “ said Jamie Miller, senior vice president and chief executive officer of GE Transportation.

Let’s engineer a better future. We can do it!

Check out our leadership roles in digital and tech HERE.