10 Sure Fire Ways to Shrink the Gender Gap In Tech

Sep 26, 2022

Working in the tech industry comes with plenty of perks, such as high demand, endless promotion opportunities and enviable salaries. When it comes to pay, men still have the upper hand even though women in tech have just as much to bring to the table. Such compensation imbalances contribute to feelings of resentment that ultimately cause women to leave the tech industry.

It is crucial that organizations learn how they can close the gender pay gap in tech if they want to take advantage of the abundance of skills, divergent thinking and superior innovation and advanced revenue opportunities generated through having women in tech. Here are ten ways to close the gender gap in tech:

1. Provide Initial Opportunities to Women

Since experience can make a huge difference, it is important that companies offer opportunities to women who are just starting out in the tech sector. It would help enable them to negotiate for higher pay later on, and organizations would have no option but to agree to their demands. 

Only when there is a formal policy that hires women and provides them with the opportunity to start early would it be possible to eliminate the gender pay gap. The policy would allow for a more equitable system to be developed. The fact is that competence has nothing to do with gender. It is due to this reason that merit and passion should be assessed to employ women in tech. It would allow them to discover their full potential. 

2. Encourage More Women to Take Up Senior Roles 

Another great way to close the gender pay gap in tech is by promoting more women and ensuring that they get a seat at the front table. It is necessary that women in tech have a say in all matters, especially pay. They should be consulted and given an equal opportunity to influence decisions that directly affect pay. By opening up opportunities, more women would be able to earn a seat at the top table and carve out their own paths. 

3. Recruit from New Places

Women from all backgrounds should be given an equal opportunity to work for tech companies. Instead of simply hiring graduates from universities, it is important that organizations expand their recruiting net. This would ensure that women are paid based on their skills. You need to evaluate the hiring practices and eliminate those which are outdated. In addition to this, you should introduce updated practices so that nobody gets left behind. The hiring criteria and approach should both be improved as there is a lot more that can be done. 

Instead of relying on a college degree to recruit someone, you should consider relevant career experience, military service, and overall skills. In fact, it is a good idea to opt for non-traditional sources such as helping incarcerated women become full-time software engineers. There is no limit to how you recruit women. By providing more opportunities, you will be able to work towards equal pay. 

4. Returnships 

When it comes to closing the gender pay gap, you have to empower women and ensure that they get all the support that they deserve. A great way to shake the status quo is by offering returnships. Women who want to return to tech after leaving the field due to the pandemic, unsupportive working environment, and childcare issues should be given an opportunity to do so. 

As interested returners might not know how to re-enter tech, you can help open doors for them. This is where a dedicated returnship program makes all the difference. It allows you to offer a decent pay and retrain women so that they are able to demand higher salaries. Many companies have introduced their own version of returnship programs. Therefore, you need to follow suit. 

5. Make Retention a Priority 

Recruiting is just one part of the solution. You also have to retain women. This is only possible by focusing on inclusion. You need to understand that inclusion is not just about diversity. It is about the lengths that you are willing to go to provide your workforce with equal opportunities and representation as a whole. What you have to do is ensure inclusion is a part of the company culture. This means that each employee needs to feel valued and respected. 

To improve job-selection decisions, you need to implement diversity and inclusion policies. Besides, it would serve your organization well from a strategic point of view. By focusing on talent retention and advancement, you would be able to take your company to new heights. With as much as 3 in 4 women in tech experiencing gender discrimination, according to the Pew Research Center, you have to eliminate gender bias and include women in every aspect of running the business. 

6. Equitable Compensation

If you want to close the gender pay gap, you have to ensure equitable compensation for everyone. With only 70% of tech companies self-reporting having achieved pay equity back in 2020, you have to step up your game. Men earned as much as 7% more for an entry-level position after the companies were assessed for equitable compensation. Hence, it is clear that there is a huge disparity that needs to be eliminated. 

In order to achieve equitable compensation, you have to evaluate pay and increase the salaries of employees who are making less than their counterparts. This would allow you to prove to your female tech employees that you care about honoring their rights. 

7. Work-Life Balance

Since women are more likely take on caregiving responsibilities, companies need to provide them with phase-in schedules, shared schedules, flexible schedules, and remote work opportunities. On top of this, you might also need to consider hiring women in tech on a contract basis so that they can continue fulfilling their caregiving duties while holding a job at the same time. 

The coronavirus pandemic has proved that a work-life balance is very much possible. It is about time that you let go of traditional approaches to work as they have become outdated. Instead, a flexible work environment is the way to go. However, to implement a model which works for everyone, you should consult with your employees and find out what they need. The fact is that women are more in need of flexible work opportunities as they have more on their plates. Besides, men have an easier time commuting to work, whereas women have a more difficult time getting to work, especially if the working hours last late into the night. 

8. Offer Formal Support 

In addition to the above, you also need to offer formal support to women if you want to close the gender pay gap. Many female tech employees need support from peers, mentors, sponsors, and role models to learn how to speak up for themselves and find a way to get their needs fulfilled. Since most women who work in tech already have role models, you should consider bringing their role models on board or creating some form of program that focuses on helping them succeed in the world of tech. By arranging support programs, your organization can establish a more equal system. 

9. Eliminate Sexual Harassment

Women should be provided with a safe environment where they can flourish. Since sexual harassment is still prevalent throughout the industry, you must create policies that encourage women to come forward and speak up about their experiences. Sexual harassment, besides being emotionally scarring, can prevent female workers from doing their best at work which can make it difficult for them to ask for a raise or get promoted.

10. Avoid Double Standards

When hiring or promoting women, you must avoid double standards. This means that you should not ask inappropriate questions about family and make assumptions. Instead, your focus should solely be based on the results provided. Evaluate the work done by your employees and only promote after you are certain who has done a better job. Merit is the name of the game. You must never let bias get in the way. In fact, you should never even consider gender when hiring or promoting someone. What you have to do is simply look at their work and past experience. It would help point you in the right direction. 

In the end, women need more organizations who are willing to step up and make a difference. From providing initial opportunities to women to avoiding double standards, you have the power to put an end to the pay disparity. By standing up for your female tech employees, you would also have an easier time hiring and retaining more female tech talent, which would only provide your organization with a competitive edge.  

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BIO: Charlotte Fuller, a leading female figure in STEM is a world traveler and an expert in helping companies adopt the latest industrial digital technologies. She earned her Master’s in International Business and has more than a decade of experience working with real-world organisations. Through her keynote presentations and workshops, she now supports organisations in building confident, high-performing female STEM talent through her signature masterclass.

Before taking on consulting privately, She worked with leading providers of digital transformation services during her time with Microsoft / Accenture. She has worked with many industry-leading companies to leverage technology & create operational efficiencies, drive more revenue, and build the teams required to meet the exact needs of their customer.

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