Struggling to find and hire women to fill positions in IT? Here are ideas that will help your organization drive more female job applicants.
Acquiring the IT skills required to accomplish organizational goals is challenging, especially given how quickly and aggressively new technologies are being embraced and applied. Compounding an overall skills shortage in some highly demanded disciplines, firms trying to either preserve or build a more gender-balanced IT workforce often struggle with finding enough female IT job applicants.
Although the percentage of undergraduate degrees in computer science awarded to women fell from nearly 40% of the total in 1985 to under 20% in 2012, some organizations have excelled at increasing the number of women in their IT workforce. Those firms that have proven successful over time at hiring more women for their open IT positions have designed and implemented structured programs designed to appeal to female candidates.
If your organization is struggling with finding and hiring sufficient numbers of women for IT positions, here are some ideas that might help:
- Start at the beginning by fine-tuning the wording of your job opening descriptions. This might sound inconsequential but descriptions that highlight cooperation and collaboration over competition will likely be more appealing to female job candidates. Ask women employees to review the language to gauge their reactions.
- Get involved in building a bridge to women in technology by sponsoring events, providing scholarships to female students interested in STEM fields, speaking to audiences that attract women technologists, etc.
- There are likely women tech communities related to your field of work nearby. Make an effort to identify these and become active participants/supporters.
- Make sure that your organization is a good place for women to work and that its reputation highlights your commitment to maintaining and enhancing this type of culture.
- See if any of your current female employees would be interested in establishing a mentoring program directed to help female students acquire insight into the workplace and the skills needed to enhance their careers.
The drive to recruit more women IT candidates must start with the firm’s leadership. They must emphasize the importance of such efforts and commit to developing processes to focus recruitment, encourage retention, and measure success.
In 2013, only about 200,000 more women were working in the fields of computer science and mathematics than in 2004. With demand for these skills projected to grow around 13% by 2024, organizations striving to reap the benefits of a more diverse work force – particularly one that is gender-balanced, will have to fashion strategies to attract and retain more women. Being successful requires commitment and vigilance.