Hiring and retaining women to work in STEM fields presents a unique challenge for employers. Women constitute slightly more than half of college-educated workers, but make up only 25% of college-educated STEM workers.(1)
However, employers who invest in hiring and retaining women in STEM careers can reap significant rewards. The World Economic Forum has projected that correcting gender segregation in employment and in entrepreneurship could increase aggregate productivity globally by as much as 16%.(2) And according to Deloitte, highly inclusive organizations generate 1.4 times more revenue (3) and are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market.(4)
Here are actionable, tried-and-tested strategies to attract more women in tech:
1. Be transparent about goals and the current state of D&I.
Making a public statement about goals while keeping track of performance will motivate teams toward continuous improvement.
2. Nurture future diversity candidates.
Get employees involved with local nonprofits that encourage girls and women in STEM fields.
3. Use standardized competency-based interview techniques.
These practices minimize subjectivity and bias by prompting candidates to give situational examples of times in the past when they have performed specific tasks or achieved particular outcomes using their skills.
4. Share employee voices.
Everyone loves a good story, including job seekers. Highlight female employee stories on your careers blog, through video and social media.
5. Write job descriptions to minimize bias.
Optimize job descriptions with a service like Textio that identifies biased language. Separate required skills from “nice to have” skills; research shows that women are unlikely to apply for a position unless they meet 100% of the requirements, while men will apply if they meet 60% of the requirements. A/B testing job descriptions on Glassdoor is also an effective way to identify unbiased verbiage.
6. Survey your people regularly to measure inclusion.
Hiring women and minorities into STEM roles is one thing; maintaining a culture that supports them is another. Include questions on employee surveys that measure inclusion.
7. Celebrate diversity-related milestones.
Diversity doesn’t improve overnight. Even “small” wins like increasing minority representation for an intern program contribute to progress. Celebrate contributions from female technical staff as well the accomplishments of your hiring teams.
8. Share your company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
In addition to your website, use your Glassdoor About Us section to clearly state why diversity and inclusion is important to your company. Candidates want to know that you’re not just trying to meet a quota, but that your company truly values a diversity of opinions and perspectives.
9. Empower women in the workplace.
Flexible work policies, generous maternity coverage, women’s employee resource groups and mentoring programs all contribute to women’s long-term engagement with their jobs.
Learn More & Download
1. Source: U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, Women in STEM: 2017 Update; 2. World Economic Forum, STEM fields still have a gender imbalance. Here’s what we can do about it, March 16, 2017; 3. Source: Bersin by Deloitte, Predictions for 2017, December 2016; 4. Source: Josh Bersin, Why Diversity and Inclusion Has Become a Business Priority, December 2015