Why Women Leave Tech And How To Prevent It

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By EmployDiversity

Women in tech are significantly outnumbered by men.  While women make up nearly 60% of the total workforce, only 25% of people working in tech are women. Tech companies not only have challenges with attracting women, but they also struggle with retention. In fact, one study found that over 50% of women in tech jobs will leave their positions at the midpoint of their careers. With so many women choosing to leave their tech jobs it’s important to look at the reasons they’re leaving and what companies can do to retain them.

Recognize Contributions

To celebrate diversity and retain women you need to treat them well and recognize their accomplishments. Women that feel sidelined are not going to stay for the long term. Providing high-level work assignments, including them in key meetings, and listening to their contributions are all ways that you can show your support. Inclusiveness goes a long way to creating an organization that is attractive and accepting of female tech talent.

Equitable Pay Practices

To retain women, tech companies need to close the pay gap and reward men and women equally. Unfair compensation practices will create an environment where women feel undervalued and mistreated. Women cannot be expected to continue in a job where they are not fairly compensated compared to their male colleagues.  Companies need to conduct salary audits to identify and address pay discrepancies.

Equitable Promotion Opportunities

Eliminating the pay gap between men and women is critical and a fair promotion process is just as important.  For women to stay motivated and engaged at work there must be the opportunity for professional growth. The fact that men are more likely to request additional responsibilities or promotions can make it more difficult for women to progress their careers. The promotion process needs to be well defined so that men and women understand the steps to achieve higher-level roles. With a defined process, biased promotion decisions are less likely, and women have a clearer understanding of how to reach the next level in their careers.  

Address Unconscious Bias

If hiring, promotion, or compensation decisions are favoring men over women, unconscious bias needs to be addressed. Workplace training can help individuals understand their unconscious biases and also encourage open conversations in the workplace.  The recruitment process is also a common culprit of unconscious biases. Often a critical review of role descriptions and the hiring process can uncover ways in which male candidates are being favored.

Diversity Goals

It’s important for every company to have diversity goals and work towards achieving metrics and milestones. Company leaders should encourage hiring managers to work towards diversity targets and celebrate successes. Sometimes it can be helpful to look externally for diversity benchmarks. By looking at what other companies are doing to retain women, companies can get ideas of how to improve their own processes.

The low retention rates of women in tech require a shift in attitude. This will close the pay gap and drive the adoption of unbiased workplace practices.  All tech companies have a responsibility to not only hire women but to keep them.

Since 2003, EmployDiversity has been helping employers connect with diversity professionals through its online employment service. Post a job opening for your organization at EmployDiversity.com with a just a couple clicks. And go to EmployDiversityNetwork.com to read helpful articles and resources for Diversity Managers.