(It’s Always) A Good Day to Hire More Women

  sharmilee |

By Elsa Burns

Women make up around 50.8 percent of the U.S. population, but only 18.7 percent of U.S. software developers. Such persistent gaps are the reason why it’s important to shine a spotlight on the need for more gender diversity in tech and to encourage more girls and young women to pursue careers in the field. As the stats show, it’s sorely needed.

An opportunity gap for women is an opportunity cost for everyone. It is by now well documented that less diverse organizations make less money and innovate less. They may also face a loss of employee morale… and of employees, period. In the wake of COVID-19, the Great Resignation, and America’s ongoing reckoning with historic injustice, people are looking far beyond their paychecks when deciding where to work. Indeed, there is strong evidence that an inclusive workplace culture is now the critical factor in recruitment and retention.

Shutting down opportunity gaps in your hiring is the right and smart thing to do. But how? When it comes to tech recruitment, the answer might be surprisingly simple.

When looking for entry-level tech talent, hiring managers typically try to recruit computer-science majors fresh from the most respected colleges. This is understandable; but it is a problem for at least two big reasons:

  • One, there are not enough grads from these programs to go around, meaning that alumni command sky-high salaries and tend to hop from job to job.
  • Two, recruiting exclusively from elite schools is terrible for diversity—including gender diversity. Shockingly, women’s representation among U.S. computer science majors has declined since the 1980s! (Between 1985 and 2010, the figure actually halved, although it has since recovered a little.)

In the face of such stark opportunity gaps, it’s time to start looking well beyond elite universities. Managers must be prepared to recruit not for brand names but for aptitude and attitude—and to train their talent for the specific task in hand.

At Revature, we partner with colleges up and down the U.S. News rankings as well as nonprofit organizations that have a mission to empower more women in tech such as Women in Technology (WIT), using a proprietary method to seek out the smartest, most driven candidates—regardless of where they got their degree or what they majored in. And it works: around 89 percent of Revature associates are hired full-time by one of our client companies, and almost 90 percent of them are still with their employer after four years.

Some of the boldest tech hiring managers are starting to look beyond four-year institutions altogether. For example, they might consider community colleges, whose students are by one estimate two-thirds female. More than 80 percent of community college students also hold down jobs while they study, which testifies to their determination to learn—a huge asset in a field that is constantly evolving.

With so many tech vacancies to fill, and with diversity the number one concern, we can expect to see more and more savvy companies turning to wider and wider sources of talent. That’s a good thing for women, for girls, and for everyone.

Elsa Burns
SVP, Head of Recruitment and Workforce Partnerships

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