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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.

That low level of representation is consistent across all levels of the STEM career pipeline as defined by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) in a 2012 research report as 'interest and intent to major in a STEM field in college to having a career in a STEM field in adulthood.' According to the report, girls lose interest in math and science during middle school, and STEM interest for girls is low, overall, compared to boys.

One approach that's working, according to co-founder and executive director Angie Schiavoni, is CodeEd, a nonprofit program that teaches computer science to girls from underserved communities, starting in middle school. "We partner with schools, businesses and with other social programs serving low-income girls to provide teachers, who are volunteers, teaching computer science courses, and computers," says Schiavoni.

Build a Talent Diversification Strategy
Finally, there are a number of HR and recruiting strategies available that can help your organization in these endeavors. You can leverage diversity associations that target underrepresented groups such as Women in Technology for example, or create marketing and sales collateral specifically targeted to diversity groups. You can also use diversity-focused media and social media outlets to advertise your positions, attend minority and diversity focused career fairs or partner with your current employees to reach out to their own professional networks.

As always, you need to track your progress and choose metrics that make sense. SmartRecruiters.com has an excellent piece on recruitment strategies that discusses the relevant metrics in more detail.

 

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