If You Want to Attract and Retain More Diverse Talent, Listen Up!

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And by this, we mean attracting and retaining women and non-binary people in tech!
Did you know that businesses do much better when women are on board?

There has been an increase in women and non-binary people in tech; however, it’s still a reflex to think about engineering as a male dominant profession. Because of this, it can be overwhelming for women to enter STEM professions such as engineering, so it’s crucial for them to feel welcomed and supported as society strives to evolve.

Our Head of Technology, Julie-Laure Mikulskis, gave a talk on the topic, “Attracting and Retaining Women in Tech”, and here are some insightful ideas on how companies can better support women and non-binary people in the industry:

1. Support women through their careers if and when they decide to build their families. At YLD, we offer six months of paid maternity and paternity leave, and we extend flexibility regarding working hours and location.

2. Support women and non-binary people going through menopause or those who suffer from difficult periods. You can do this by again offering the flexibility of working location and hours, ditching the formal dress code, and being responsive to people who suffer from changes in office temperature.

3. Educate the leadership team on the commercial benefits of diversity (better decision-making skills, broader representation with your clients), and encourage them to actively bring in more women and non-binary people (and anyone else who is under-represented) into the company.

4. Train all interviewers on unconscious bias. We’re continuously improving this at YLD by allowing candidates to meet various people across the organisation and the leadership team without going through countless rounds. We’re currently reviewing our interview training module to incorporate an even more objective point of view when we interview our candidates.

5. Consider using an ATS (applicant tracking system) that anonymises candidates in the hiring pipeline to help prevent bias. Also, review your job adverts and job descriptions for gendered language.

6. Consider implementing an anonymous diversity survey for all applicants who apply for a role at your company. This should give you some interesting statistics on who your adverts are targeting and who is not applying.

7. Have more women and non-binary people at the forefront when marketing the company, but be wary of tokenism. You need to market your company and represent who is in the business. Marketing the company you would like to have will ultimately lead to disappointment.

8. Review your gender (and ethnicity) pay gap. If you have over 250 UK staff, you may already be publicising this online. Take active steps to resolve any discrepancies. At YLD, we use FiguresHR, a system that benchmarks our salaries against the market. That has given us some initial gender pay gap data, but we’re doing further research into this.

9. Proactively recruit and explore beyond your standard/ immediate contact circles. People in the industry tend to leverage their network but try to look beyond this. Consider looking at women’s tech job boards like PowerToFly, Career Contessa, Pink Jobs, Out and Equal, and more. There are also agencies which specialise in placing diverse candidates. We have recently expanded our internal talent team from various recruitment backgrounds to promote diverse perspectives.

10. Analyse the careers of your existing diverse candidates. Are they being promoted and rewarded? If not, why not? Your metrics can reveal a lot. We have revised our internal career framework for both engineers and product designers. We incorporate this framework and voluntary gender and diversity data (plus LGBTQ+ and disability data) to assess how we’re doing on the career advancement front.

When biases are spotted, everyone has the responsibility to call them out and to act on them. Having a robust set of company values that includes diversity helps (One of YLD’s values is including everyone).

We have to create an environment where people want to stay and know they’ll be promoted and grow based on their contribution, not based on the biases of others. Although none of us wants to talk about worst-case scenarios, you should also ensure that you have legally compliant Disciplinary and Grievance procedures too, for when things do go wrong.

Your People Team will be able to help you here. When bias or discrimination does happen, it needs to be dealt with swiftly and fairly.

YLD prides itself on inclusivity. If you want to join a supportive and diverse company with highly talented designers and engineers, contact us. Let’s work together.

If You Want to Attract and Retain More Diverse Talent, Listen Up!
was originally published in YLD Blog on Medium.
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