June 10, 2019

3 minutes

See more of:

Talent Acquisition

5 ways to attract more women to your business

The IT industry is suffering from a lack of gender diversity. 

Right now, women represent less than a fifth of the industry – a number that has decreased over the last 30 years.

There are a lot of great organisations working to challenge the diversity issue and increase the number of women in the IT industry but what can you do to attract more women to your business?

1. Stop describing your perfect candidate

Hiring managers often come up with an ideal candidate profile and use that as the basis for the job advert.

But you should ask yourself what skills and experience does the person really need to perform the job you’re trying to fill.

Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. And it has very little to do with females not being confident that they could do the job well, but rather that they believe it would be a waste of their time to apply for a role they will be automatically dismissed for.

So by describing your perfect hire, you’ll often receive a shortlist lacking in both gender diversity and the actual skills your business needs.

Also, to attract talented females, we must make sure that job requirements are realistic for the salary. If you’re asking for too much then it’s likely that most people applying will be men.

2. Use inclusive language in your job postings

Job adverts should also use inclusive language to persuade women that it is worthwhile applying. Its all about consciously using language that doesn’t marginalise groups of people.

We have three top tips for writing inclusive job adverts:

  1. Keep the language simple: Avoid acronyms, jargon and colloquialisms etc.
  2. Use both masculine and feminine -coded language (more information here)
  3. Think about what benefits matter to different groups of candidates: Flexible working, comfortable workspaces, childcare, financial bonuses, working culture, large computer screens, accessible offices, nearby parking etc. Some things will matter more to different people.

3. Consider cross training

Another way to unlock the benefits of diversity is by hiring people with different professional backgrounds.

If your search is only returning a certain demographic, you could always widen the net.

Recognise the soft skills that your role requires and base your search around them.

You could look at people in the same industry with a different role, or maybe someone in a similar role but a completely different industry.

Yes you may need to provide a little training but you benefit from a new perspective.

4. Showcase your role models

Role models are important because they give us the ability to imagine our future selves. The more closely we identify with these role models, the easier it is to imagine ourselves in their position.

There are some incredibly talented women in the industry that we could, and should, be bringing into the spotlight alongside their male peers.

You can share the stories of your existing workforce to inspire others to apply.

5. Encourage mothers back into work

Having a family, should not hamper a woman’s promotion potential. Firms should actively support women as they return to the workplace after maternity leave.

Retain your existing talent and put thought into how you will make coming back to work a pleasant experience for returning parents.

Think “re-onboarding” plans, flexible work options, professional development coaching and empathy training for line managers.