Couldn’t attend Transform 2022? View all summit sessions in our on-demand library now! Watch here.
In climbing the corporate ladder, women are still underrepresented. McKinsey data finds that women make up less than 25% of executive-level positions, and women of color account for only 4% of executive-level positions. However, this adversity extends beyond the C-suite — industries like tech are dominated by men, with women making up only a quarter of the tech workforce.
With Women’s Day right behind us, tech companies of all sizes are expressing their commitment to gender equality in the workplace — and one of the best ways to drive change is to listen and learn from women who have broken the glass ceiling. Here, I’ll use my experience as a working woman and working mother to share three ways tech companies can promote more women in tech.
Initiate mentoring and training programs that empower women
Since women are significantly underrepresented in technology, it can be difficult for them to envision a successful career in the industry. Organizations need to help create a sense of belonging in the workplace, and they can start by implementing mentoring programs. Connecting women in lower-level roles with women and Men in senior executive roles can empower staff to expand their knowledge, develop relationships and break down boundaries in the workplace.
While both men and women can make excellent mentors, women may benefit further from building relationships with other women at work. For example, I was able to ask one of my mentors, also a working mother, details about motherhood and career. He gave me honest answers to my questions, helping me strategize and prioritize tasks to meet the overall needs of the business while making time for my family. If you’re a woman in leadership, this may be one of the most important things you can do — I recommend that everyone on my team find mentors they can trust.
MetaBeat will bring together thought leaders to provide guidance on how metaverse technology will transform the way all industries communicate and do business on October 4 in San Francisco, California.
Tech companies should also look to educational resources to help women succeed in the workplace. Leaders can offer seminars, mentoring programs, and retraining opportunities to help train the workforce in the key skills and strategies needed for career success and advancement.
If office cultures are predominantly male, women will likely feel out of place and undervalued. Mentoring and training programs not only provide an opportunity for learning and career development, but can also demonstrate leaders’ interest in women’s careers while fostering a sense of belonging in the workplace.
Provide comprehensive and expansive benefits
In the tech industry, 57% of women have felt burned out at work, compared to 36% of men, according to Trustradius. Since the pandemic, workers have begun to prioritize their mental health and personal lives over work, and companies have developed programs and resources that address employee wellness. However, it is vital to consider the unique needs of women when implementing these programs.
Trustradius data finds that 78% of women in tech feel they have to work harder than men to prove themselves. So it makes sense why 33% of women recently took time off work to prioritize their mental health. It is imperative that companies offer equal programs and resources covering mental health, employee appreciation and training to help women feel valued and empowered at work.
Inclusive benefits must extend beyond mental health benefits. For working parents, equality in parental leave has a significant impact on women’s mental health and is one of the most critical benefits for parents as a whole. When companies offer opposing parental leave options for each parent, the results only exacerbate outdated perceptions of parental responsibilities. Companies need to reevaluate their parental leave programs and incorporate equal leave for both parents to allow partners an equal share of parenting responsibilities.
Offer flexible workplace policies
Employees are no longer willing to be part of a company that ignores (or cancels policies based on) pandemic-driven changes such as working from home and flexible hours. In fact, Flexjobs data finds that 60% of women say that if their company forced them to return to the office full-time, they would look for opportunities elsewhere.
Even so, Deloitte data found that more than half of women in tech are expected to change jobs as a result of poor work-life balance — and New View Strategies data finds that most have seen their workloads increase is increasing significantly since the pandemic. Employees increasingly value flexibility and autonomy in their schedules, and this is especially true for working mothers.
For example, I hired a senior product manager part-time as she wanted to return to full-time work while balancing parenting two teenage boys and her passion for competitive track training. After a while, he moved into a full-time role and continued to excel professionally as he drove great results for our business. Had I not been flexible in my approach, I would have missed out on this incredible talent.
Tech companies not only need to be open and transparent about the challenges working mothers face, but more importantly, they need to offer more flexibility so they don’t lose valuable talent. While flexible workplace policies help women succeed in their personal and professional lives, expanding the talent search to include more women in the hiring process is also helpful.
In recent years, much progress has been made for women in the workforce. Today, there are now 41 Fortune 500 companies owned by women, compared to just two in 2000. But as companies celebrate this progress, it’s an important time to reassess whether companies are cultivating a successful workplace that empowers and promotes women. women. By implementing mentoring programs, providing inclusive benefits, and offering flexible workplace environments, companies can help their current employees succeed and attract new and valuable women to their talent pool.
Denise Hemke is Head of Product at Checkr.
Welcome to the VentureBeat community!
DataDecisionMakers is where experts, including data technicians, can share data-related insights and innovations.
If you want to read about cutting-edge ideas and up-to-date information, best practices and the future of data and data technology, join us at DataDecisionMakers.
You might even consider contributing an article of your own!
Read more from DataDecisionMakers