It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the tech industry. Tech has long been a male-dominated field, and the relatively few women who entered the industry often leave for good after a couple of years.
The Anita Borg Institute states in its report “Innovation by Design: The Case for Investing in Women” that Fortune 500 companies with a minimum of three female directors saw a 66 percent or more increase in their returns on invested capital; at least 42 percent increase in returns on sales; and an increase of at least 53 percent on return on equity.
What’s more, as Sangeeta Bharadwaj Badal highlights in her Gallup article “The Business Benefits of Diversity,” gender-diverse companies show higher revenue and higher profits than businesses that aren’t gender diverse. Moreover, diverse teams show more creativity—a fact that could add significant value to teams in the business of creating innovative solutions.
For any manager in the tech field, it’s important to know how to keep your female employees engaged and on board. These four strategies can help you retain your female tech talent.
Ensure equal treatment. In her Fortune article titled “Women in tech: don’t even try to fit in a man’s world,” Jane Lansing describes how often women are ignored or treated as less than men. From having their work checked by male colleagues to being ignored in meetings, this kind of treatment is obviously unfair and demoralizing. As a manager, it’s imperative to never allow gender to define a person’s value to the team. Evaluate objectively whether you’re allocating the deserved work and recognition to all, and make sure to be inclusive in meetings and other communications.
Ensure equal pay. According to Sharon Florentine in her CIO article titled “6 Ways to Attract and Retain Female IT Talent,” women make only two-thirds of what men are paid for the same jobs. Ensuring equal pay goes a long way to retaining top female talent, as they’re less likely to look elsewhere if they’re satisfied with their remuneration.
Create a culture that’s supportive of motherhood. In a male-dominated workplace, the things working mothers need might not be immediately obvious. A lack of understanding of and provisions for working moms are some of the most frequently cited reasons women leave the field. Make sure your company offers paid maternity leave and allows a new mom to gently ease back into work, even doing flex work or telecommuting some of the time. If possible, even have the company contribute to daycare.
Provide clear career paths for women. When discussing career paths with your female employees, highlight what opportunities are open to them—they should be the same as equally skilled male colleagues—and talk about how they can balance family and career. By addressing these matters early on, even as early as during the recruitment process, you’re informing your female employees that there’s a future for them with your company. Make a point of regularly discussing career advancement options with your female employees and following up when new opportunities arise that match their plans. By actively coaching their careers, you’re not only helping your individual employees succeed; you’re also laying the groundwork for a diverse company with female representation in senior positions and in the boardroom.
Retaining female talent in tech isn’t something that will improve overnight. Apply these four strategies and you can proactively create a workplace that’s gender-inclusive, fair and rich with opportunities for men and women alike.
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