How can we destroy gender bias in tech?

Posted by Tilt Recruitment on November 12th, 2021

How can we destroy gender bias in tech?

Posted by Tilt Recruitment on November 12, 2021

Just 16% of IT professionals are women. That figure has barely changed in 10 years. And the problem isn’t a lack of fresh talent – girls are now studying STEM subjects in equal numbers to boys, and getting better grades.

Inequality and discrimination are still alive and kicking in tech. So how can we kick back?

1. Introduce blind CVs

Women are 30% less likely to be selected for an interview than men with the same experience and qualifications. And when they do get hired, they’re still paid less – in fact, the gender pay gap in tech widened by 3% between 2019 and 2020.

And good intentions alone aren’t enough to overcome this – however good a hiring manager’s intentions, it’s impossible to get rid of unconscious bias. The answer? Get around it instead. When CVs are anonymised, women are up to 46% more likely to get hired.

2. Set gender targets

To turn their gender parity commitments into real change, employers need to set clear, incremental targets for increasing numbers of women at every level of the company, including the C-suite and top executive roles. Quarterly and annual success measures should be pegged to achieving these targets.

Measures to reach these goals can include stronger onboarding processes, external coaching, reverse mentoring, or sponsorship programmes to prepare high performers for leadership roles.

3. Close the wage gap

The pay gap in tech is a shocking 61%, with two-thirds of women offered a lower starting salary than men in the same role. This imbalance is even greater for women from minority ethnic backgrounds. Tech firms need to commit to gender pay parity and put checks and balances in place to enforce it.

4. End the ‘motherhood penalty’

Women lose an average 4% of their hourly earnings when they become mothers – while men earn 6% more after becoming fathers. Employers need to offer more flexibility, make it clear to women employees that they will be judged only on their performance, not on their working hours, and actually deliver on that.

It’s also vital to destroy the stigma around shared parental leave and normalise the role of dads as equal caregivers. With fairer paternity policies, women will have a fairer chance at senior leadership roles.

5. Address gender bias head on

Companies must offer training on gender discrimination, communicate their gender equality policies clearly to employees, and take a progressive stand on recruitment, C-suite targets, pay, and the motherhood penalty.

6. Break the glass ceiling

Many tech companies still don’t realise how much they need women in leadership roles. Studies show that companies with more women leaders perform an astonishing ten times better.

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