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6 ways to attract and retain female IT talent

Sharon Florentine | Nov. 3, 2014
While there's no magic formula that will instantly close the gender gap that still exists in the IT field today, business leaders can take these steps to help shift the male-dominated culture towards increased diversity.

Research from the National Partnership for Women and Families supports these assertions. When workers don't have access to paid leave, they are more likely to need to leave their jobs. Paid leave reduces the associated turnover costs - search, recruitment, loss of productivity, training -- and encourages valued workers to stay not just in the labor force, but with the same employer.

"If they [parents] take leave available to them, they feel the company is more supportive and is invested in their future, and they will more than likely return to the same company," Chris Duchesne, vice president of global workplace solutions at says.

For more information on how parental leave affects retention and turnover please read, Lack of Parental Leave Drives Employee Turnover.

Showcase Your Company's Flexibility
Workplace flexibility is another selling point that can really make a difference in your employee's lives, while at the same time, if done correctly, save your organization money. "You could offer transition programs for employees leaving or returning from leave, part-time work schedules, flexible work schedules, work-sharing and job-sharing opportunities, and the like," says Duchesne, who adds that when you do so, make sure these programs are easy to understand and information and resources are easily accessible.

The technology and IT industries are leading the pack in regards to remote employees and flexible schedules, according to Leslyn Broughton, research vice president at consulting, recruiting and staffing firm Modis. "As an industry[IT and Technology], it tends to afford much more freedom as far as work-life balance, which can be really appealing to women who are often juggling career, children and home responsibilities. The IT Industry is also much more forward-thinking as far as remote working, virtual environments, flexible schedules, work-sharing, "Broughton says.

Offer Equal Pay for Equal Work
Women in the U.S. make only 66 percent of what men are paid for similar work, according to the World Economic Forum. Equal pay for equal work is one of the major factors to consider when looking to attract, hire and retain female tech talent.


Here is a telling conversation Dulski had with one of her direct reports that highlights the way woman feel in regards to this issue. "I had one of my female reports in my office for our weekly one-on-one conversation. We were discussing how she'd be recognized for a major success she'd had and she said this to me, 'Just pay me more. Give me a bonus. Don't send a company-wide email; I don't want to have cake, I don't want a comp day, just pay me more.'"

At first Dulski was taken aback by this response, but after thinking it through it made sense to her. "None of those other rewards matter if, at the end of the day, you're a woman and you're making less than male colleagues for doing the same job," Dulski says.


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