Diversity, inclusion and equitable hiring is on the wish list of many socially conscious organizations globally but only a few make it a part of their agenda. Women are far behind from equal representation in the global workforce and the global economic toll for this shortcoming is estimated to be mammoth.
The tech industry, like many other industries is struggling to attain gender diversity. The 10th annual report of AnitaB.org titled Top Companies for Women Technologists sheds light on the current status of women representation in the tech industry, after studying 51 US companies, covering more than half a million technologists.
The report finds that the overall women participation in the tech industry is on the rise – the number rose from 25.9% in 2018 to 28.8% in 2020. Although the upward trend is encouraging, the report highlights that if the current rate of annual growth of 4.96% remains consistent in the years to come, even then it would take another 12 years to attain equal women representation in the industry.
While tracking the status of women technologists at different levels, the report found that in the last two years, women’s representation grew by 3.5% points on an average, but there was disparity at the entry level – only 29.4% women technologists were hired as opposed to 69.9% of men.
Positive trends are visible at retention and advancement levels where attrition has been found to be almost gender neutral, while more women were promoted to higher levels. However, the report also underlines that the female promotions were majorly for mid-level positions while the male promotions were for senior-level positions.
Policies and programs boosting women representation in the industry
While equitable hiring and fair advancement opportunities play a major role in reducing the gender gap, implementing certain policies and programs have proven to have a positive effect on women representation in the sector. These include:
- Caregiver leave spanning over 12 weeks
- Allowing flexible working hours
- Conducting internal trainings explaining the need for diversity and inclusion
- Creating employee resource groups to gain inputs on relevant programs and policies
More women at the top table yield better results
The report highlights that several studies have concluded that companies with more diverse boards have better performance, are more profitable, and innovative. It further adds that diverse board of directors create more role models and sponsors who inspire diversity in workforce and nurture a broader range of ideas that better reflect the company’s customer base.
Steps needed to make the tech industry more diverse and inclusive
It has been proven time and again that improving diversity and inclusivity is beneficial to companies at multiple levels. Hence the companies must step up their game and take a few steps towards that direction. Here are three distinct ways in which companies can do that:
- Companies must increase their diversity, equity and inclusivity or DEI efforts to build structural parity. They need to ingrain these values in the organization’s DNA and enhance their efforts to get participation from all their employees at every level.
- Companies should endeavor to create new pathways by recruiting applicants from non-traditional backgrounds, even if that requires upskilling and additional training.
- The industry must unite at organizational and individual levels to share ideas, workout new innovative solutions and best practices to accelerate the change towards gender equity.
The positive trend revealed by this report proves that the tech industry is on the right track and with a little more conscious united effort, equal women representation in the tech industry can be achieved must faster.