How to Combat Gender Bias in the SME Tech Industry

6 Min Read

The small and medium business information technology sector has a reputation for attracting more men to the field than women. Many college programs point to the number of women graduating versus men in the field, with most degrees going to males. Reasons for the lack of females entering the field are varied. STEM-based programs traditionally have fewer females than males. Part of the equation could be natural tendencies toward subjects. However, societal pressures also impact who goes into what fields. Since IT positions often pay well and offer excellent benefits, encouraging young girls to consider the field for career options makes sense. Fortunately, companies can participate in numerous changes that will attract a more diverse pool of job applicants and combat gender bias.

1. Hire Globally

Expanding your hiring practices to include global sources can naturally remove some gender bias. Be aware of the traditions in countries you plan to hire from, as each culture has different views on women in the workforce and technology industries.

You may even save money. The average salary for a human resources (HR) worker is over $65,000 annually. Utilizing online hiring from HR companies worldwide reduces how many employees you need.

2. Support Student Programs

Gender disparity in SME tech is almost unavoidable since more males graduate from programs than females. Although it takes time to see numbers shift, supporting programs encouraging young girls and teaching them basic science and math skills can have long-term benefits.

Donate money to a local high school club to encourage girls to learn information technology skills. Volunteer at schools and teach a class. Offer a scholarship for a young female wishing to get her degree in computer science.

3. Invest in Social Media Marketing

Create more balance in your organization by attracting suitable candidates. With a limited number of female applicants, it’s crucial to get your brand in front of them as a possible workplace. One way to get the word out about what it’s like to work for your company is through social media.

For example, you can utilize Instagram’s massive following to reach young college students almost ready to graduate. Have one of your younger employees post snapshots of events around the office, working from home or any other attractive perks. Consider where those you wish to reach will most likely spend their time online. Select the social media platform they prefer to get the word out about your business’s career opportunities.

4. Promote Women Throughout Your Organization

Adopt a policy of promoting fairly. If company leaders are primarily male, consider which females might be ready for more responsibility. When job candidates see your company culture is inclusive of everyone, they’re more likely to select your offer for their new job.

Set the example of diversity in non-IT jobs to encourage inclusion in computer science roles.

5. Copy Companies Hiring Women in IT

Women make up a mere 18% of computer science degrees. Unfortunately, they leave the industry twice as often as men because of an unfriendly work environment. However, some employers stand out as excellent options for women in SME tech, including American Express, GoDaddy, and Apple. Study what these brands do to include women and copy their best practices.

6. Lose Biases

Overhaul your company and lose biases that might impact women negatively. Train everyone not to ask questions about family that might insinuate the worker can’t effectively do their job.

Stop punishing women for childbirth and taking time off to raise children before reentering the workforce. Females are less likely to receive promotions because they’ve taken family leave. Those in charge may see them as less dependable because they have a family.

Instead, make gender-blind decisions about promotions by removing names and demographic details from the list of qualifications.

7. Prioritize Skill-Building

Businesses should embrace building skills in all employees. Send everyone to workshops, pay for courses to develop expertise, and encourage attending conferences.

Well-trained employees do their jobs better and may feel more satisfied, reducing churn. They’ll see you want to invest in them personally.

Hire based on skills rather than degrees. Doing so opens options to nontraditional candidates and allows self-taught gurus to enter the applicant pool. McKinsey reports an experiment where employers posted skills-based job openings and saw a significant increase in qualified applicants.

If you have an employee with an excellent work ethic and a desire to learn IT, invest in their passion and train them for the position they desire.

Enhance Awareness of Gender Bias

Awareness of gender bias in the industry and working to combat it enhances company culture and leads to solutions for the lack of females in IT. Once you understand a problem, it’s easier to develop potential solutions and experiment with new policies to bring in a more diverse employee population.

Featured image provided by fauxels; Pexels; Thanks!

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As a business technology writer for ReHack Magazine, April Miller is passionate about researching and spreading awareness of the latest technologies impacting the business world.