It’s no secret that the tech industry has long been a male-dominated world and that the stats around women in tech do not paint a rosy picture. However, the important questions are: Why does this matter? And how can we change this?
We’ve talked about why diversity matters (and what you can do to help yours) before. It’s critical for an organization’s ability to innovate and adapt in a fast-changing environment. Forbes, McKinsey and Harvard Business School all maintain that workforce diversity is a key driver of internal innovation and business growth. Companies with diverse executive boards enjoy significantly higher earnings and returns on equity. Inc.com lists the five key benefits of workplace diversity as increased creativity, innovation, better consumer understanding, richer brain-storming and better decision making. Forbes lists the top three reasons why we need more women in tech as:
1. Diversity generating more revenue - Research shows that high-gender-diversity companies deliver better returns and have outperformed less diverse companies over the past five years. Fortune 500 companies with at least three women in leading positions saw a 66% increase in ROI and have a purchasing power of an estimated $5 trillion.
2. Women thinking differently - Men and women see things differently and bring unique ideas to the table. This enables better problem solving which can boost performance at the business unit level. The presence of women makes individuals anticipate differences in opinion and perspective and makes them assume that they will need to work harder to come to a consensus. Businesses benefit from this kind of pressure.
3. Needing more role models - Celebrating female tech leaders will encourage more girls to pursue an interest and career in tech - thus increasing the tech talent pool’s diversity. Bringing women into senior roles demonstrates that others have the opportunity to succeed too. Women having a seat at the table will also enable them to engage men on the topic of gender equality.
Ok, so clearly fixing the significant gender disparity has positive business outcomes. So where to next? Atlassian’s Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Aubrey Blanche, boosted their female technical hires by 80% in her first year with the business. Her tactics included paradigm shifts of dropping the belief your company is a meritocracy - and starting as early as possible - which is hopefully now. She stresses that you don’t need a Head of Diversity to take the first steps towards inclusion - and offers many easy-to-implement strategies around building culture, recruiting, engagement, social media exposure and research on psychology, sociology and organizational theory. Click here to read how she did it.
McKinsey’s report on what it’ll take to get more women into tech careers talks about making gender diversity core to hiring. The start-ups making progress on gender diversity are the ones devoting extra resources to sourcing diverse candidates from day one. Considering more than cultural fit is also important. Revisit and think about what your values are today, and what aspects of these will endure well into the future? Using this, rather than cultural fit alone will ensure greater diversity. McKinsey’s research, shows that women tend to perceive entrepreneurship as riskier than their male peers. Encourage entrepreneurship wherever possible by helping women to see that trying to launch a new business and failing is perhaps a lesser risk than not trying at all. Expanding the female talent pipeline is also crucial. Getting more women into STEM careers requires creating clearer pathways for women to enter into them. Developing girls’ coding skills is essential - nonprofit social enterprises and other organizations need to teach women tech skills and help companies develop more female-friendly recruitment policies. Women in tech matter so that future generations of women will not only join but surpass the work being done today. Each generation is responsible for paving the way and bettering the next. This should be important to everyone, not only women.
Women in tech matter so that future generations of women will not only join but surpass the work being done. If you’re interested in working with remote and gender-diverse teams who will help boost your bottom line, download our eBook, '30 Hints & Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Remote Team’. It will ensure you're informed and have the right questions to ask when considering the next step.