The Role of Women in Tech: Attracting & Retaining Top Talent

By Linda RoperMarch 6, 2023

International Women's Day, on the 8th of March, recognises the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. 'DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,' is the theme of International Women's Day 2023. And this year, it's all about emphasising the role of technology in advancing gender equality and empowering women, especially in the technology industry. So, let's talk about the need for more women to enter this booming industry and how businesses can attract and retain female tech talent. 

2 women working on their computersTable of Contents

Why Women Are Key To The Tech Industry 

One of the most rapidly expanding and lucrative industries is the technology sector. But men have traditionally controlled the field, and females have been unfortunately underrepresented industry-wide. This gender gap not only restricts women's advancement but also stifles the industry's capacity for new ideas and originality. As a result, it is essential to increase the number of women working in technology. After all, it was Margret Hamilton, who got us to the moon, and if we take a step back in time, Ada Lovelace was the world’s first computer programmer! And by limiting the opportunities for women within this sector, we may well be limiting our potential to progress in all things digital!  

Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion - Tech & Innovation 

So, how can companies create an environment that is more welcoming to female tech innovators? Well, it’s best to start with diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Studies show that companies with diverse teams perform better and are more profitable. Therefore, increasing the number of women in tech roles within an organisation can, according to data, provide a broader range of perspectives, ideas, and insights that will drive the industry forward. 

Women as Key Players in Shaping the Future of Technology

While it’s true that the tech industry is shaping the world we live in, it is important that women have a say in its development. And having more women in tech can help to bring new and different approaches to problem-solving, as well as new solutions that cater to different demographics. Women tend to approach problems in different ways to their male counterparts, which can often help speed up progression and help tech companies explore new methods and techniques. And studies have found that men perform better on mental rotation tests and spatial perception and orientation questions, whereas women outperform men in memory recall.  

Plus, in the wider scope of things, the tech being developed will also be used by women, so it makes sense that women are involved in the design and development phase just as much as men are. 

Women shaking hands after successful interviewIdeas to Attract and Retain More Women in Tech Roles 

Strategies that will attract and retain more women in tech roles must be put in place if the gender gap in the sector is to be closed. Here are a few suggestions that businesses can start putting into practice. 

1. Create a Supportive Workplace Culture

A supportive workplace culture is vital for attracting and retaining women in technology-based roles. Flexible working arrangements, promoting work-life balance, and providing professional development opportunities are all ways to ensure women feel valued and supported at work, resulting in higher job satisfaction and retention rates. 

2. Address the Gender Pay Gap

The gender pay gap, in which women are paid less than their male co-workers, is a significant issue in the technology sector. Equal compensation for equal work, which eliminates the gender pay gap, is essential to luring and keeping female IT talent. Women can feel appreciated and valued at work by establishing open and equitable remuneration structures. 

3. Increase Access to Education and Training

Education and training must be available to encourage more women to work in technology. By providing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) scholarships as well as funding, and also training and development programs specifically for women already working in the tech sector, the pool of female talent can be expanded. 

4. Challenge Gender Stereotypes

Gender stereotypes are still evident within the tech industry and, unfortunately, can have a significant impact on women's involvement in the industry as a whole. So we all must work hard to challenge these stereotypes and promote the message that technology is a field for everyone, regardless of gender, in order to attract more women to apply for these up-and-coming opportunities. This can be accomplished through educational campaigns across social media, outreach programs, and by actively promoting female role models in technology.  

5. Introduce A Role Model Scheme

Introducing a role model scheme is another effective way to proactively encourage women to pursue careers within the technology sector. Role models can help to inspire and motivate the next generation of female tech leaders, showcasing the possibilities of their own success in the industry. Take Susan Wojcicki, who was the former head of YouTube, Sheryl Kara Sandberg, the current COO at Facebook and Dorcas Muthoni, who has been behind some of the most widely-used online applications in Africa, transforming governments and societies across the continent.  

Role model schemes do not just have to be limited to famous women but can start on a small scale within individual organisations, where successful women in tech can mentor and encourage their female colleagues to succeed and thrive in the industry. 

Companies can offer mentorship programs, where successful women within the business can become mentors for aspiring women in the field. Role models can provide valuable guidance and support, sharing their experiences and expertise with younger women and helping them overcome obstacles and achieve their career goals. 

Final Thoughts

As we celebrate International Women's Day 2023, we must encourage businesses within the tech sector to focus on attracting and retaining more women and creating a supportive workplace culture whilst putting the gender pay gap to bed! The tech industry undoubtedly still has a major gender diversity issue, which is impeding progress and innovation. And only by offering more flexible, inclusive and supportive roles within the industry along with gender role models can companies effectively attract women ready to challenge the industry and drive innovation and creativity within the tech sector. It is crucial that we work together in 2023 to establish more balance and an industry that facilitates the design and development of technology and digital solutions that are accessible to people of all genders and ages.