Women in Tech: How Employers Can Promote Hiring Inclusivity

Amy Warner
April 23, 2020
Diversity & InclusionRecruiting TipsTech Hiring

Despite making up half of the workforce, women represent just 25% of all tech hires.

Let’s be clear: women have a good shot at getting hired. In fact, they’re 16% more likely than men to be hired after applying to a job. One major problem is women apply at far lower rates.

Women make up only 26% of tech applicants – we won’t come anywhere near close to hiring parity until men and women are applying in roughly equal numbers.

Here are some more sobering numbers:

  • In analyzing our system data of 4,000 companies and 75 million applicants, we found the gap between male and female applicants has remained virtually unchanged for the last four years.
  • 33% of STEM employees don’t believe their industry will ever have as many women as men.
  • 22% of men want to work in IT more than any other field; only 6% of women say the same.

Each of us has an opportunity to inspire change in our workforce and create a more inclusive future for the next generation. While there’s no silver bullet, here are five simple ways you can ignite change in your workplace:

1. Choose your words wisely. Review existing job postings for gender-specific terminology. Rethink words like “strong”, “proven,” or “analytical,” which are largely considered masculine language. Strip out industry jargon as well, which may discourage women coming from other industries. Going forward, ensure both male and female colleagues write job descriptions collaboratively. Here’s a deeper dive into recruitment marketing for specific roles.

2. Keep job requirements simple. Women aren’t less qualified for tech roles, but they do rule themselves out at higher rates. According to the Harvard Business Review, women are unlikely to apply for a position unless they meet 100% of the requirements.

Men are less dissuaded by requirements and will typically apply if they meet only 60% of listed criteria. Knowing this, avoid deterring female applicants by making your requirements a wish list. Include only what’s truly needed for a role and be clear as to what’s vital versus nice to have.

3. Invest in your talent. Once you’ve hired the right candidate, invest in her potential. Offer onsite or virtual training that focuses on in-demand tech skills. Whether it’s taught by in-house staff or it’s outsourced, additional training builds up your existing talent and encourages them to take on new responsibilities.

4. Leverage your employees’ networks. There is no better way to connect with candidates than through your existing employees. In addition to your regular employee referral program, create a female-led advocacy group that’s dedicated to recruiting other women in tech. Incentivize your employees with things like extra PTO, team activities, or work-from-home days.

5. Remember to celebrate. Recognize those who exemplify inclusivity in your workplace. Call out managers and individual contributors alike who embody your welcoming company culture. Spotlight them on your social media accounts as well as your internal communication channels.

Looking for more ways to promote inclusivity and diversify your workforce? You might also like: Are You Camera-Ready? Video Interviewing is the Future of Diversity Recruitment.


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*iCIMS’ system data is drawn from a database of more than 75 million applications and 3 million jobs posted per year by more than 4,000 customers. The company’s customers represent a broad swath of the U.S. economy, with expansive geographic, industrial, and occupational representation. The data represented here draws from the 2019 calendar year. 


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About the Author

Amy Warner is the former Director of Talent Acquisition at iCIMS, responsible for developing and executing the company’s global recruitment strategy. During her tenure, Amy and her team doubled the company’s headcount and helped lead iCIMS to its first Candidate Experience (CandE Awards), placing #1, #4, and #3 respectively.

With an immense passion for all things recruiting, Amy has been featured in a variety of industry publications and forums, including RallyFWD Recruitment Marketing, Recruiting Daily, New York Daily News, SHRM, HR Daily Advisor, the Enterprisers Project, and Woman’s Day.

Prior to joining iCIMS, Amy served for nine years as Talent Acquisition Lead at Cigna. Previous to that position, Amy spent 10 years at Johnson & Johnson, where she held a variety of leadership positions within Talent Acquisition and Talent Development.

Amy is currently the Director of Early Career & Diversity Recruitment at Cigna, responsible for top of funnel outreach and relationship-building across the organization. She holds a BBA in Finance from Hofstra University and an MBA in Human Resources from Fairleigh Dickinson University.