We have just celebrated women of all walks of life during International Women’s Day. It is also when we celebrate the advancements toward gender equity and an opportunity to redouble such efforts. Following this, we would like to dive into how you as a human resources (HR) practitioner, manager, or organisation leader can do your part in supporting women in the tech industry.
1) Offer a Flexible Work Environment
According to a research done by the Wall Street Journal, on How Men & Women See the Workplace Differently, 36% of women and 7% of men said they do more household chores and childcare.
This essentially means that women are more likely to focus on home affairs while working from home than men. This leads to the fact that we see fewer women at the top of the industry. The reason behind this is simple. A survey conducted by TrustRadius under the 2021 Women in Tech Report has shown that 42% of women in tech say they took on most of the household work during the pandemic compared to only 11% of men. Although this speaks for the general idea of women’s experience of working from home, more results bring to light as to why a flexible work environment is crucial for women in tech.
According to Trust Radius, 53% of women in engineering and information technology have expressed that working from home had positively impacted their productivity. However, the percentage decreased across women in departments like Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service in the tech industry.
This amplifies the fact that the organisation and the HR department need to provide the flexibility for the women working in tech to choose the perfect working arrangement that will positively impact their productivity.
2) Provide Access to Senior Management
In addition to setting targets and looking at promotion criteria and policies, some organisations and company leaders are more focused on the more subtle interactions in the workplace. Researchers from McKinsey and Lean In found that while both men and women recognise that face time with leaders and informal feedback are essential to getting ahead, men get more feedback and more chances to interact with top leadership. Extracting results from the same Wall Street Journal study revealed that more men than women shared that they have had interactions with their senior leaders about their work at least once a week. This goes across all levels of the men’s careers, from entry to middle and to the senior levels.
Isabel Nyo, in her article on Better Programming, shared that she had noticed what this access to senior management did for her career when she became a manager after being an individual contributor. She realised that when she was an individual contributor, she had great ideas and capabilities. Still, due to the lack of access to senior management, she never had the avenue to share what she had to offer.
Statistics show that 36% of women in the entry-level have access to their senior leaders compared to 38% of men. The gap only increases along with the seniority level where 51% of women in senior-level positions have this access compared to 62% of men. It can be inferred that the HR professionals and organisational leaders from all levels should look into providing equal opportunities for their women employees access to senior leaders. It is also an avenue for the organisation to have a mentor-mentee programme that actively helps women employees find suitable mentors, such as the MentorCloud programme.
3) Create a Purpose-Driven Organisation
An individual from the University of Cambridge expressed that “The women we spoke to took great pleasure in the quality of their work, whether that meant pride in the elegance and clarity of a piece of research or reorganising an administrative system in a way that actively contributed to the effectiveness of a department.”
It is understood that women take pride in their work, and this simply does not mean that men do not. The source of pride can be quite different between men and women. According to studies from the University of Cambridge, it has been found that women are often driven by their purpose instead of external factors such as money and fame. It was understood that women who understand how their work is making a positive impact on others, be it customers, community, or colleagues, are more motivated to stay in the workforce and even at the same workplace.
The question here to HR practitioners and organisational leaders is: Does your company have a purpose and do all employees – especially the senior management – live and breathe that purpose everyday? It is crucial to evaluate your employees and understand what keeps them motivated to stay in the workforce and in your organisation.
With another year of unpredictability and disruption ahead, organisations need to focus on how they can retain their women employees while providing them the means to reskill and upskill within the organisation. It is vital for organisational leaders to eliminate the barriers that have a negative impact on gender equality and these three steps can be the start to it.
If you are looking for a solution to provide equal opportunities to every employee in your organisation to reskill and upskill, reach out to our team of experts to guide you on how we can aid the growth and development of your organisation at firstname.lastname@example.org