Patrice Williams, HR Manager for Vuram, discusses how to tackle the tech gender gap and elevate women in the workforce
“Being a woman in tech is hard”, “How can women survive in a male-dominated sector?”, ….. Even today, we encounter similar misogynistic points of view in a world that is taking a quantum leap with technologies. Yet, gender equality is one of the most pressing issues shaking up the corporate world.
Even though the percentage of women in the US labour force has reached 47% (Source: US Bureau of Labour Statistics), the figures are significantly lower in the technology sector. According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, women hold only 25% of computing roles.
Understanding the benefits of ensuring diversity and inclusion, upcoming organisations leverage on inculcating a people-friendly and inclusive work culture that contributes to organisational growth and wellbeing. For instance, Vuram leveraged its workforce comprising 54.7% of women to grow into Inc. 5000’s list of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies of 2021 witnessing an impressive 2-year growth of 170%. A work culture that values individuals and appreciates equal representation brings new perspectives to the table. An inclusive workforce in an organisation comes with a host of benefits:
One of the critical drivers of economic growth is diversity. Organisations looking to increase their market share or want to be part of a competitive economy in a globalised world must focus on a diversified workplace. An interesting result from McKinsey’s Global Institute Report is, “If more women were to participate in paid work and earn equal pay that could add $28 trillion to the global GDP, it would be a 26% increase by 2025.” The study further estimated that gender diversity could improve the profitability of a company by 21%.
Increased organisational performance
Diverse perspectives are essential for enterprises to collaborate and scale projects efficiently. Apart from nourishing a culture of collaboration, diversity in the workplace is crucial to address challenges from diverse customers. Studies have proven that inclusive workplaces that offer responsibility with flexibility make employees happier and help them be more productive without being burnt out or stressed, thus leading to a better quality of life.
Open communication and participation from a diverse workforce improves decision-making and helps to evaluate challenges from various perspectives leading to innovative solutions. With women having equal purchasing power defining consumer behaviour, the inclusion of women helps a better understanding of the influence purchasing of power and marketing decisions.
Fair treatment with equal opportunity to advance and represent leadership roles will only increase the company’s bottom line. Here’s another extract from the McKinsey survey, proving the fact. “Companies with greater diversity among executive teams witnessed higher profits whereas companies with low diversity rates are 29% more likely to make less money.”
New opinions, unique skills, and fresh minds – a diversity in ideas, skills, and thinking methods will amplify the innovation and creativity that are crucial for the growth of a business. Forward-thinking companies will strive to eradicate gender stereotypes and be open to an equitable environment where everybody gets equal opportunities.
Open communication is one way to attract, retain, and develop new talent into the organisation’s work culture, ensuring people from diverse backgrounds are welcomed and nurtured towards success.
What should an organisation do to break the glass ceiling?
Given below are a few pointers for organisations to nurture their women’s workforce and position them for career advancement to break gender stereotypes.
- Devise a hiring strategy that prioritises representation for women alongside other genders in an organisation.
- Offer women adequate skill-specific training with peers or mentors without disparities in gender and designation.
- Support women to address challenges and opportunities to progress into leadership roles.
- Help women ascend the career ladder with increased responsibilities without being judgemental about their capabilities.
- Create flexible working schedules or provide other opportunities like telecommuting, part-time based on the requirements to maintain an inclusive workforce.
- Ensure that women are paid rightly at par with their counterparts as per the industry standards.
- Celebrate success, recognise achievements, and appreciate progress to keep people in an organisation motivated and create a sense of belonging. It is essential to acknowledge success without prejudice.
- Create a safer workplace free from sexism and microaggressions while providing training on gender issues and ways to tackle them.
Organisations and enterprises need to prioritise eliminating gender bias and nurturing a work culture that embraces inclusion welcoming all genders to a work culture that allows progress, positioning people to succeed personally and professionally. The ones who make it a business priority to build teams irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, and culture are sure of reaping the benefits.