The tech industry worldwide has historically struggled with issues surrounding diversity. Since Deloitte's first Australia's Digital Pulse survey was published in 2015, the number of women in tech has remained unchanged - sitting at 28 per cent of the total ICT workforce.
As an employer, there are a range of actionable ways to encourage diversity in your own tech business:
1) Reduce Unconscious Bias
There are several ways you can reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process:
Have more than one person conduct interviews - It helps to have a range of people helping you to conduct interviews. Unconscious bias is natural, but getting a range of viewpoints on a particular candidate helps to dilute that.
Introduce tests - One way to both reduce bias and really get a feel for how someone is going to perform in their role is to send out a sample test of a procedure or process that occurs in your company. You can then directly compare candidates based on their performance in this.
Review your job adverts - It's important that there's no unconscious bias in any of your job adverts. Checking them for any accidental allusions to certain genders or groups will help with this. For instance, research from the University of Sussex found that words like "competitive" and "determined" attract more male applicants, while "interpersonal" and "support" encourage more females to apply.
If you ensure there's no unconscious bias in your hiring process, you'll increase your pool of potential applicants, meaning you'll have more options and are much more likely to get the quality staff that you need for the job.
2) Consider your organisation’s culture
You might say you're committed to diversity, but is that reflected in your company culture? Ensure you're creating an encouraging, inclusive atmosphere that's built on mutual respect and equality. For instance, have you thought about whether you've got sufficient flexible working policies in place? These arrangements allow those with childcare or other commitments to continue working, and by not promoting them, you might unwittingly be discouraging certain groups to apply. Flexible working policies can include:
Work from home arrangements
It's also important to have sufficient anti-harrassment procedures in place. If certain people are being made to feel uncomfortable at work, you need to show that you deal with these issues professionally and swiftly, otherwise they'll happen again.
Get everyone involved in your diversity efforts. This will help to show the importance of representation to everyone in your company and ensure they're all on board.
3) Encourage diversity early
One of the best ways to encourage diversity in tech is by partnering with schools. Try sponsoring efforts to get more girls and minorities interested in STEM subjects. These are often required for tech jobs but tend to be dominated by males. Including internships or other training programmes as part of your school partnerships is also a good idea.
4) Aim for 100% Human at Work
Talent was recently involved in the launch of the 100% Human at Work Initiative. Believing that the time has come to start thinking of people as human beings, not resources, Talent has partnered up with Virgin Unite, The B Team and Perpetual to kick off the movement. It focuses on helping people to achieve their highest potential, no matter where they've come from.
Key to this has been the new category at the Talent Unleashed Awards for "Most Progressive Workplace Leader." We're here to help leaders to increase staff engagement and make each and every employee feel valued.
If you're looking to hire quality candidates, the team at Talent can help. We're a highly innovative technology and digital recruitment specialist, with offices across the globe. Contact us today for more information.