Attracting Female Tech Talent: Best practices

It is no secret that women are still significantly underrepresented in tech startups, but how many women in Germany really work in tech? How are they getting paid compared to their male co-workers? Why should startups employ more female tech talents in the first place, and what can HR professionals do to attract them? 

We summarized all answers from our webinar on Attracting Female Tech Talent for you. Find all answers and tips from the expert Dr. Karolina Kettler, Senior HR Manager at Popcore, in this article.

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Female tech talent in Germany – Let’s talk numbers 

Germany is a very advanced country on many levels, which makes many of us falsely assume that it is also very diverse. However, when it comes to tech female talent, Germany performs very poorly. According to a report from Honeypot only around 16 % of of the tech workforce are female. Compared to the eastern countries like Bulgaria (30 %) and Romania (26 %) we seem very far behind gender balance in this sector. But do female tech talents in Germany at least get paid fairly compared to their male co-workers?

Gender pay gap and female tech leadership

According to the study, the European Union countries with the lowest gender pay gap are Sweden and Latvia. Germany, however, is far behind them. While the other countries only show a gender gap of around 10 %, Germany revealed a worrying gender gap percentage of 25 %. Not very fair at all, right?

As if that’s not enough, another statistic exposed that the engineering sector has the lowest percentage of female leaders of all sectors in Germany. Only 9 % of the decision-makers in this branch are women. Compared to the health sector that shows 38 % of female leaders, this number is shockingly low, transmitting females the impression that they will never have the same opportunities as men to climb up the career ladder in this field.

But what does it really matter for an organization if it does not have a diverse culture and therefore little to no female representation? 

Diversity in tech

First, it is quite important to define the term ‘Diversity’. This word is really spreading quickly, and suddenly every organization wants to be diverse and show off how great they are because of it. 

But what does diversity in terms of recruiting actually means? And what does it mean in the light of company culture? 

In terms of recruiting, an HR professional or a recruiter that strives to intentionally attract and employ a workforce comprised of individuals of varying gender, religion, race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education, and other attributes is defined as someone engaging in diversity actions while sourcing talents.

But the term in the light of the company goes far beyond the hiring process. Diversity in the light of company culture also means to understand and acknowledge that every individual is unique and to recognize the individual differences by creating equal opportunities for every single individual. This means providing the necessary mediums and support that every individual to create the same opportunities for everyone in the team, helping to succeed as a group.  

If you, as an HR professional, decide to engage in more diverse actions either in terms of recruitment, retention, or employer branding, there is one important question that you have to ask yourself because if you do not your business stakeholders will. And that’s the big WHY question? Why do you think we need to support and take more diverse actions? 

Why do we need more female employees in tech?

To conclude, we summarized some facts that propose more diversity and inclusion:

  • Higher profit:  A study among the Fortune 500 companies shown that with at least three female directors on the management board the following factors improved: the return on invested capital increased over 66%, return on sales jumped over to 42%, and return on equity went higher by 53%.
  • Retention rate: According to Gallup’s research, companies with more diverse staff have a 22% lower turnover rate compared to those with a more homogeneous one. Considering that the lifespan of tech talent in a startup lies around 18 months, this could really help to retain employees on a more long-term basis. 
  • Recruitment: Based on several studies in the recruitment industry,  for ca. 67% of the job seekers diversity is a key point when choosing a future employer.
  • Engagement & Performance: Research shows that gender-diverse groups are up to 87% more engaged compared to the homogeneous teams.
  • Demographic & Social change: Based on several studies, Generation Z that is entering the workforce, puts high importance on values when it comes to choosing an employer, and diversity and equality play a predominant role.

How to convince your boss to invest more in diversity and inclusion?

The best piece of advice would be to be proactive and explain why you are engaging yourself in these diversity actions. Use facts and numbers to prove your point. If you show your employer and business stakeholders that they could be making more profit or gaining other benefits by taking diversity and inclusion actions, they will be more likely to approve them. Make sure to be prepared with concrete facts. You can use the points above and research more facts and figures that will help you to prove your point

Attracting female tech talent (on a budget)

Best practices from Popcore

  • Inclusive job descriptions: Use inclusive and gender-neutral language (get supporting tools, like Textio, Grammarly), avoid putting years of experience, limit your requirements to the essential ones
  • Diversity as a recruiting KPI: Set gender-diversity hires as a recruitment KPI
  • Boosting referral program: Establish a referral program (referral bonus scheme), and encourage your female employees to refer other female candidates
  • Directed employer branding: Give exposure to your diverse employees on your social media Employer Branding campaigns 
  • Diverse hiring committees: Make sure that a group making hiring decisions is diverse gender-wise

Creating a truly diverse and inclusive working environment in a startup 

Best practices from Popcore

  • Female support group: Create a female empowerment group with a concrete roadmap, initiatives, and simply a safe, experience-sharing space 
  • Education: Provide training on gender bias, raise awareness on benefits of equal gender representation 
  • Career path & Performance reviews: Design clear and transparent rules for career progression, salary raise, and performance assessment 
  • Build community: Get engaged in female empowerment groups active in your community, participate in the events
  • Groundwork: Get involved in the girls’ tech education groups, such as Future Legends
  • Flexibility and mental support: According to the McKinsey and LeanIn study, 41% of senior-level men reported feeling exhausted, compared to 54% of senior-level women during the COVID-19 crisis; make sure you provide flexible working hours and mental support

For more information on the topic, check out the recording of the webinar here!

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