As Pittsburgh evolves from the City of Steel to a city of technology – what some may even refer to as The Silicon Valley of the East Coast – women and nonbinary folks remain largely underrepresented. The real scary part is that only 25% of tech jobs in Pittsburgh are held by women. Not to mention that even though we are quickly becoming a tech hub, Pittsburgh ranks super low on the scale of cities for women in tech. It’s number 46 out of 53 to be exact.
Reaching women in tech is where I see SO many companies getting stuck.
They know they need a more diverse team. They know they need employees that reflect their customer base. They know investing in diverse teams leads to higher financial performance and increased innovation.
So how do we fix it?
1. Get your opportunities in front of them.
The easiest way to do this is to expand your networks, especially when your main networks are generally comprised of people who have related interests and personalities. Attempt to recruit talent in new places – like our job board. Women in tech have become organized in a response to situations where they’ve found themselves to be a minority. Reach out to those groups. Invest in their community and help to nurture their growth in order to create a pipeline of the next generation of tech superstars in your community.
2. Drop the “gendered” language
Make sure they are seeing and considering the job opportunities your company has by evaluating your job descriptions.
Writing a job description in some perspective can be akin to writing marketing material for the target audience you want to attract. Thus, if you are not getting a diverse pool of clients in your interview process, chances are your job descriptions may unintentionally be targeting that specific demographic that keeps on showing up.
Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids companies from requesting a specific gender of applicants in their listing, it is possible to unconsciously cater to certain demographics with gendered wording. In fact, research has discovered that in fields dominated by majority male-presenting individuals, job descriptions often use words or phrases that are “masculine-coded.”
To put it more bluntly, tech industry job descriptions are written in a way that appeals to men and repels women.
For example, words like “lead” and “competitive” were found to be masculine-coded and in some cases can give the impression of a toxic work environment. Meanwhile words like “collaborative” and “dependable” were found to be feminine-coded. This is not to suggest that women cannot be leaders or that men cannot be collaborative or dependable but is instead based on extensive research on which job descriptions lead women and men to take action and actually apply to them.
In a since deleted Storify by Erin Kissane, Twitter users responded to a call to action for them to share descriptions of jobs that don’t alienate. See below.
*Free tool to scan your job descriptions for gendered language!
3. Limit the mandatory qualifications
I applied for my first technical career through a recruiting agency – with much encouragement from my lovely recruiter as I was battling major imposter syndrome coming out of my coding bootcamp. After going through the interview process and receiving an offer, I got a chance to peek at the actual job description the company had on their own website. I was in shock I even got the job, as I NEVER would have personally applied had I come across the opportunity myself as I met only a few of the qualifications. However, I came to find that my actual position only required me to do a few of those things originally listed in order for me to be successful and efficient in the role.
Time and time again it has been proven that when job seeking, men will apply for the job if they feel they meet 60% of the criteria listed while women will only apply if they meet 100% of the criteria.
So limit your mandatory qualifications to only what is absolutely necessary!
Ready to reach the community of women in tech in Pittsburgh?
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