Talent Acquisition

How Can Recruiters Attract More Women to Tech Roles?

Let’s be honest, the stats aren’t great. Just 17% of people working in the tech sectors in the UK are female.

Are employers doing enough to attract more women into tech roles? IT, technology and subjects alike are predominantly studied by males, so is it really the employers’ fault?

As recruiters, what can we do? How can we change this?

Ruth Penfold

By making sure that we are helping to build gender neutral environments, and creating spaces and businesses where women truly feel like they can be a part of and thrive in. Creating an inclusive space and ways of working has to be number one.

We are at the ‘coal face’ of this stuff, and can therefore play an instrumental role in the way the tech world evolves. It’s up to us to spot opportunities to evolve working practices and re-skill people to move into technical roles. I work closely with some of the female engineers specifically at Shazam to encourage them to become role models, and to inspire other women to consider a career in tech. The next tech generation can also be a more mature group, and I’d love to see more of that happening.

Ruth Penfold, Director of Talent Acquisition at Shazam.

Libby Herrmann

Start by diversifying and growing the networks you actively take part in – to include those that have a widespread female population. From here, ensure you are evangelizing the opportunities and the organization’s desire to diversify the workforce by hiring strong female candidates. For many women tech candidates, it has likely been a while since their last job search. Ensure they are aware of their value to an organization, the culture of the company, their growth potential and the positive implications of making a career change, among other reinforcements.

Internally, hiring managers need to be conscious of diversifying their candidate slate and fostering an inclusive environment. Organizational culture, including its reputation built by the hiring manager and existing team, is just as much an attractor as any effort a recruiter could put forth in outbound strategy.

Libby Herrmann, Client Relationship Manager at WilsonHCG.

Amanda Bell

There’s a lot of discussion in the diversity and inclusion community about how to bring more diversity–gender, racial, ethnic, among others–into companies. But we often forget that it’s not just about bringing people of diverse backgrounds into companies: we must make sure we focus on inclusion once candidates become employees. Make sure your company is, in fact, inclusive. If you aren’t showing that you truly live your values surrounding D&I, no amount of diversity recruiting efforts will be effective. You can begin by asking employees: “What’s going well?”, “What could be better?”, “Which resources can we invest in  to make sure all employees feel welcome, encouraged, and supported at work?” Once you build the foundation of an inclusive environment, attracting more women to a supportive team becomes much easier.

Amanda Bell, Director of Recruiting at Lever.

Angela Bortolussi

I remember years ago when I attended my first tech meetup. And while the vast majority of attendees were male, I also was able to connect with a handful of women – looking back though, it was a bit overwhelming meeting with 60+ men and just 6 women.

Woman or man, people ultimately learn to code and join the industry for the same reason (and same with recruiting) so, if we can show how women are already here doing “the job” we don’t necessarily need to make a “special case” – I think what we need to do is keep voicing the importance of encouraging women to get into technology.

How do we do that? Well, in general workplace culture also needs to transmit a message of inclusiveness and diversity – including gender diversity. But, some really easy stuff (we recruiters) can do: let’s be a presence and support women in their IT careers.

Angela Bortolussi, Partner at Recruiting Social.

Rebecca Fraser

Recruiters can support this more than drive it I believe. This includes supporting in coaching their organisations to consider the best way to write job adverts, ensuring they are gender neutral. A recruiter can also work with their clients on developing HR policies that support working mothers’ transition in to the work environment, or considering ways of making their work place flexible. Flexible work options do not mean less work, a lot of the time it actually results in improved productivity and quality of work as the individual is highly engaged in the work environment and the work output.

Rebecca Fraser, National Executive Committee, Career Development Association of Australia.

Liz Sebag-Montefiore

Diversity in hiring is important for all organisations but it is particularly difficult to attract women to digital and tech roles. Candidates of both genders increasingly seek flexible and family friendly working policies. Ensure that job adverts don’t use gendered language or imagery that puts off female applicants. When employers champion female role models, they inspire applicants to see what is possible in a tech career and to aspire to what have traditionally been seen as male-dominated roles. It pays off because more diverse teams do better financially and compete better in the market.

Liz Sebag-Montefiore,  Director and Co-Founder 10Eighty.

Lysha Holmes

Recruiters can ensure they understand the brief and requirement of the roles as they would any job, regardless of discipline and ergo of the gender for the incumbent applicant. Engage with your audience through social media channels, steering away from stereotypical and generic adverts and stating the facts to the entire audience you wish to capture, not just women.

Lysha Holmes, Owner and Recruiter of Qui Recruitment R2R.

Caroline Stokes

The billion dollar question: recruiters will have greater success when biases are removed at screening stage through technology, have their role optimized for success in the first 90 days through coaching, the employer demonstrate true gender equality and there’s more support and systems in place for women – and men – to manage life challenges.

Caroline Stokes, Founder of FORWARD and The Emotionally Intelligent Recruiter.


Poonam Mawani

I personally feel that this should be influenced at schools and universities so that by the time jobs are applied for then the status quo isn’t gender but merely the ability to do the job. Let’s all educate our children that it doesn’t matter whether you are male or female but that they can do whatever job they want to do.

Poonam Mawani, Director at Azuki Accounts.

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