Steps You Can Take to Increase Diversity in Tech

It is clear that more needs to be done around diversity and inclusion in business. Especially in the tech industry, where only 11% of senior roles are held by women, and women of colour account for only 4% of the workforce.  

These statistics won’t change until people take action. To help with this, we’ve listed some steps below that will support an increase in diversity and inclusion in tech.

Having a more diverse workforce, leads to an increase in perspectives and ideas, which creates an inclusive culture, that leads to innovation and ultimately, profit. A report by McKinsey and Company, found that companies with gender diversity on executive teams, were likely to have above average profitability in the fourth-quartile, by 25%. In fact, they also discovered that companies with ethical and cultural diversity, outperformed others in the fourth quartile by 36%.

Support is Key

study by the National Centre for Women and Information Technology, found that to describe their career prospects in the tech industry, women aged 25-34 state “greater dissatisfaction.” This can be used as one of the reasons to explain why 56% of women in the industry, mid career, leave their employers. In order to prevent this and increase the level of diversity in the industry, organisations need to facilitate the learning and development of their female employees. 

A key initiative to ensure that people progress in their career, is to offer the opportunity of mentorship. Having someone in the same industry, perhaps with similar experiences, guiding you through your career, providing advice on difficult decisions, is an effective way to support individuals, and deter them from changing career paths. In fact, 48% of women in tech, specify a lack of mentors as one of the main reasons women are underrepresented in the industry.

In addition to implementing a mentoring programme, businesses should consider supporting their female employees by offering flexible working hours. A survey of 2,500 tech professionals, found that flexible working was the most important employee benefit to 22% of women as opposed to 19% of men. Which gains significance when presented with the figures that, only 58% of women get access to flexible working, in comparison to 64% of men, in the industry. As the added benefits of a role are key to individuals taking on the position, having flexible working hours could lead to an increase of diversity in tech.

Stop Making Biased Decisions

Even though you may not realise it, biased decision making occurs throughout organisations, particularly in the hiring process. Almost half (48%) of women in STEM roles, report discrimination in the hiring process.

Affinity bias occurs in the recruitment process, when individuals prefer candidates that have similar characteristics to themselves. That’s not to say that this decision is made actively, as it can happen unconsciously, but as the majority of tech professionals are male, it is important to prevent, so that inclusion and diversity in the industry can increase.  

An obvious solution to affinity bias, when hiring new employees, is to diversify the individuals involved in the recruitment process. This will allow for an increased perspective and reduce the likelihood of affinity bias occuring.

Represent the Underrepresented

Many women, in our #WomenInTechQA series, mention a role model, or influential figure who they aspired to when starting out in their career. In order to increase the diversity and inclusion of the tech industry, women need to know that a tech career is a possibility, and one that they should consider. This is where role models come in.

If you are a woman in tech, or you know women in tech, encourage them to take part in events, either as a speaker or an attendee. If you are an organisation running an event, approach a woman in the industry, and ask them to be one of your speakers. Not only will this increase the awareness for females, both women and girls, that careers in tech are attainable, but will help to shine a light on the fact that women are underrepresented in the industry. Attending events will also enable the ability to network and get other individuals, not just women, involved in helping to increase diversity in tech.

If you are looking to attend an event for women in tech, or speak at an event, get in touch with us today!