Women in tech has been a key topic of conversation in recent years alongside the increased focus on gender parity in hiring practices. However, despite being in the spotlight, female representation in technology is still lacking. According to Deloitte’s Women in ICT: Perspectives and perceptions report, women make up less than 20% of Australia’s information and communications technology workforce.
Moreover, in Michael Page’s Technology Sentiment Survey 2022, 59% of surveyed technology leaders said their business had no initiatives in place yet to increase the proportion of women in tech or digital roles.
“It’s a known challenge across technology in Australia, the industry is working very hard on it and there are organisations that are attracting quality female talent,” Michael Page Technology Director George Kauye reveals. “Those organisations that have implemented initiatives to invest in the grassroots level, as well as hire female senior technology leaders are doing it well.”
So what women in tech initiatives are organisations implementing to ensure they are not
missing out on sourcing, attracting and developing great female tech and digital candidates?
Below are four key strategies we are seeing drive the biggest impact for Australian organisations and women in tech.
Take a top-down and bottom-up approach
The most successful women in tech initiatives we are seeing involve a top-down and bottom-up approach, whereby women in tech are being brought in at the leadership level so that they can drive a more gender-conscious tech function, while also being brought in at a grassroots level through graduate technology programs, where their skills are being invested in.
This includes more focused graduate programs and internships that put an emphasis on developing female talent, as well as scholarships and inclusive recruitment practices across the organisation to reinforce and systematise and reinforce gender equitable practices.
Provide equitable access to training and development
Michael Page’s Technology Sentiment Survey 2022 also reveals that 78% of tech leaders agree or strongly agree that they need to consider upskilling over hiring specialists for certain roles, compared to just 34.3% in 2020.
This suggests that organisations can do more to support the development of women in technical roles by providing equitable opportunities to build applicable skills, along with a formalised framework for their professional development.
This includes offering access to technical training programs as well as resources on useful supplementary topics such as how to negotiate, ask for a promotion, be effective in interviews and build their professional network.
Provide support for working mothers
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 73.7% of couple families in Australia with children under 15 have mothers who are employed, and 61.3% of single mothers with dependents are employed.
Research shows working mums are up to 40% more stressed than other people, while 49% of mothers say they have experienced discrimination in the workplace at some point during pregnancy, parental leave or on return to work.
Implementing specific supportive policies such as generous parental leave, flexible work arrangements and return-to-work programs can have a significant impact not only on attracting working mothers in tech, but also in retaining female employees throughout their careers.
Offer formal mentoring opportunities
Mentoring and sponsorship programs can help women in tech roles develop the skills and confidence to advance in their careers, including leadership and management capabilities. Formalise this process by connecting senior employees with junior-mid level female talent and encouraging them to serve as coach and advocate for the employee’s promotion.
Identifying and developing existing talent through mentoring means avoiding having to look externally and compete in the same candidate pool as your competitors.
However, if external tech recruitment is the logical next step for your organisation, Michael Page’s tech recruitment specialists offer a tailored approach to finding the right hire for your business needs.
Find out more about our technology recruitment expertise.
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