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Attracting more women to the male-dominated tech industryOne of the fastest growing and most diverse industries recruiting today is theIT sector. With more companies than ever before relying on computer-basedsystems and online interactions, there is a huge demand for qualifiedprofessionals who can maintain and manage IT systems, or create and managespecialist software. There are also great financial opportunities in thissector, with IT project managers taking home an average salary of around£48,000.There are so many ways to work in IT. Everything from offices to schools, fromhospitals to warehouses, has an IT network at its centre and an onlineplatform to maintain. Working in IT can involve some of the world’s mostinteresting and unusual industries. From developing a website for a localcompany to project managing global conference communications, there are manyways women could be involved in IT work.However, a Deloitte study from 2016 notes that just one-quarter of tech jobsin developed nations are held by women, with very few of the senior rolesbeing allocated to female workers. The study also asserts that this disparityis a key contributor to the overall gender pay gap. So why are women stayingaway from this lucrative and exciting industry – and what can be done toattract more females into the IT sector?Why are there fewer women in tech jobs than men?There is a wider problem of low female engagement in the science andengineering sectors. A 2015 study found that more than half of women who startin tech-based industries end up leaving for a different sector. The topreasons cited for leaving include feeling isolated or bullied, poor managementand feedback, and a lack of opportunities to move up the career ladder.This is certainly true in the IT sector, say women working in the industry.However, men in the tech sector tend to disagree. They feel that there areplenty of opportunities for women and that jobs are open to the bestcandidate, whatever their gender. Often, they claim that there are too fewwomen entering education on IT courses – therefore, there are not enoughqualified women to compete for the best tech jobs.There is some truth in this. Even in countries where the genders are close toequal in law, such as Norway, Finland and the UK, there is a significant lackof women studying on tech and computer-based degree courses. Women are lesslikely to studying programming, engineering and other related disciplines. Yetthe gap is not so broad as some would have you believe – women are signing upin increasing numbers to study IT related subjects. So why are they stillunderrepresented when it comes to employment – and what can be done about theissue?Attracting more women to tech jobsMore female role models in IT could help to entice workers into the sector.There has always been a distinct lack of female CEOs among the top techcompanies, though this is starting to change. Recruiters can inspire youngwomen to work in IT through the success stories of some of the industry’srising female stars: such as Jessica Naziri of TechSesh, FileMaker senior DaraTreseder or engineer Erica Baker from Slack.Search for candidates in female-focused forums and social media sites. Womenwho work in tech often band together online, discussing opportunities andsharing experiences. These hives of female IT professionals are a greatresource to tap when recruiting. There are also focus programs which aredesigned to push women into male-dominated work fields, backed by grant moneyin many cases and partnering with these initiatives can increase a job’svisibility to a female audience.Always use gender-neutral language when writing IT vacancy posts. Studies alsosuggest using less masculine language – for example, ‘developer’ instead of‘hacker’ and ‘IT professional’ instead of ‘techie’.Companies that promote more women will almost certainly attract more womeninto the business. Knowing that a company has a female management team couldencourage more women to apply for the role, and give them confidence that thejob has future prospects. Women in tech jobs often feel they are passed overfor promotion while their male colleagues rise up the ranks, so by promotingwomen to senior roles, new staff will immediately have confidence in their newemployer.Offering flexible working isn’t always possible for employers, but a degree offlexibility in an IT role could ensure that females with families are able tojoin the industry. There are plenty of IT roles which can be carried outremotely, either some or all of the time. In-house IT roles with flexiblehours, or a family-friendly approach to urgent leave requests, can empowerwomen to enter the tech field and use their IT skills on a full or part-timebasis.Retaining female IT professionalsEven where companies are strong at hiring women for IT jobs, the industrystill has a high attrition rate. In order to keep skilled IT professionals ontheir books, companies need to ensure their female workers are getting fairopportunities and an equal salary. IT jobs often feature among studies of jobsatisfaction and happiness, with settled IT workers reporting that they enjoytheir job. However, women have slightly lower rates of job satisfaction, andthis is likely a result of the barriers they face. To ensure that women areattracted to IT jobs and that they stay in them, employers should workcontinually to maintain an equal and fair workplace.For more information on recruitment for a wide range of industries, includingthe IT sector, contact Time Recruitment today. Our busy and fast-growingManchester based recruitment agency sources the most skilled and reliablestaff to fill roles at your company.