Why We're Still Struggling to Get More Women in Tech

Blog Post
Posting date: 08 December 2022

The tech industry has come a long way in recent years to diversify its workforce. However, there are still many opportunities to attract and retain women. But how? 

The strategy for hiring and retaining more women in tech has been over complicated and seemed too far off to be a viable solution (more on that later). But from the recent findings of our Digital Leadership Report, we discovered some surprising statistics that may indicate the immediate solution could be much more simple. 

Let’s take a look at some evolving statistics and examine how the strategy to get more women in tech could have been right there all along.

Why So Few Women Get Into Tech 

From the employer’s perspective, there just isn’t enough female talent to choose from in tech. One report found that “the lack of advancement of women technologists is staggering: the representation of women technologists declined by 50% from entry to mid to senior and executive levels.”

Tech has long been a male-dominated industry, one that women simply don’t see themselves in. Women need to see themselves in this industry and believe that they’re just as good at it as anyone else. And when things get increasingly competitive, they need to be encouraged early to stick with it. 

Perhaps getting more women to join and stay in STEM careers is a society-wide responsibility. If we can create a pipeline from early education and nurture them throughout their schooling, we may see more women staying on this career path and bringing with them a wealth of talents and skills. 

One such strategy, workplace Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) initiatives, have been trying to do just that. 

A Decade of Slow Growth

Many employers are finding their DE&I initiatives aren’t getting results.  

According to a 2016 report from the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), women represented just 24.4% of U.S. computer professionals. That same report found that women held just 26% of all computing occupations (down from 36% in 1991) and represented 15% of computing entrepreneurs. 

You'd think the industry would have made substantial gains in promoting and retaining its female talent in the six years since that report's publication. But just as recently as Harvey Nash's Digital Leadership report in 2021, we found that just 12% of digital leaders were female. 

Why Many DE&I Solutions Don’t Seem to Fit  

Many employers would understandably be quickly overwhelmed by the amount of work there is to do to create more diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. A quick Google search yields several articles with similar solutions including: 

  • Developing a clear vision for inclusion in your company 
  • Transparent reporting on DE&I initiatives 
  • Creating employee support networks 
  • Promoting a more inclusive workplace culture 
  • Developing a diverse pipeline of women in tech 

These are critical steps every employer should take to eliminate the barriers to entry for women, make their workplace more inclusive, and put an end to the pay disparity between men and women. These are all positive and proactive adjustments you can make in your workplace to attract more women to the industry.

But many employers want more diversity now. They have an immediate need to hire. So, these strategies often seem out of reach for the near term. It’s one of the ways many employers might feel that hiring and retaining women in tech is too complicated and time consuming, and their pressing need to hire takes priority. 

Surprising Findings: The Right Strategy Could Be the Simplest  

What if a simpler solution was the best solution? 

One of the surprising findings of our Digital Leadership Report was that just 6% of employers have tried working with mandatory hiring benchmarks and just 8% have tried candidate shortlists. With numbers this low, we can assume that only a few employers were working with a recruiter to create a gender-neutral recruiting strategy which, this article describes as a more “flexible recruiting approach that takes into account women’s specific needs and aspirations.” 

There is no question that employers want to hire women but have yet to tap into a successful strategy. The solution could be as simple as the one they have yet to try: adjusting your recruiting metrics and/or developing a gender-neutral recruiting strategy.

Ready to Try a New Way?

Could your ranks use more female technologists who are some of the best and brightest talent? If you want to hire more women into tech roles, we can help. Harvey Nash USA is committed to creating more diversity, equity and inclusion—not just for the long term, but to serve your hiring needs now.

If you want to help your workplace evolve while elevating the tech industry to achieve more today, contact Harvey Nash USA