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Gender diversity in tech: How to build inclusion

We need to improve the way we support women in our organisations by building a better culture if we want greater diversity. That means that when the women we hire will stick around and want to be part of our success.

The way the tech industry is addressing gender diversity isn’t working.

Women comprise half the workforce. But according to the ONS, the number of women working in tech currently sits at 28%. A report from Tech Nation shows that just 9% of C-suite leaders are women, falling to 3% representation at CTO level.

The lack of gender diversity is problematic on a number of fronts.

As an industry can we really claim to be forward-thinking and innovative if we can’t design our own way to equality? As individual businesses, we can’t claim to have hired all the best people if 72% are male. And for our clients, we can’t deliver the best solutions if the teams that design them don’t reflect the diversity of the people who use them.

At Zaizi we’re pleased to be ahead of other parts of the tech industry both across a number of measures from representation to promotion of women. 31% of our workplace are female, with 21% of women promoted in the last year. But we also recognise that we need and want to move faster.

The way we are doing this is by addressing the three areas which we believe will drive radical change.

Spearheading gender diversity through hiring and promotion

If you accept that the male/female imbalance is a symptom of bias, then it is only right that we ensure tools and processes which we use to recruit our people and manage progression are bias free.

Using blind recruitment and applicant tracking we are able to anonymise applications. We’ve designed our career progression framework to remove gender bias. For recruitment we now have standardised interview questions. We also ensure there is a female on the interview panel. There is much more we can do here.

Encouraging gender diversity through our culture

As a woman in tech and an HR leader it’s clearly important for me to take the lead on the issue with Zaizi. But gender diversity requires men as champions too. It’s also important that it isn’t just an issue for HR or diversity and inclusion to deal with. Instead the business should support it as a strategic initiative.

With that in mind we have a cross functional team driving action on diversity and inclusion in Zaizi. It’s supported by men. And it takes in the views of people across the business through workshops so we can hear the actions we need to take. We are looking at how coaching can support a culture of diversity. We’re also looking at how changes to our employee benefits like parental leave play a role too.

Inspiring gender diversity through leadership

Being visibly and vocally committed to gender diversity is critical to attracting women into your business. Some 88% of people say they are drawn to companies that talk openly about diversity. But what really matters is having leaders who make sure their business is walking the walk when it comes to gender diversity. We are doing this by setting targets and holding me and the rest of Zaizi’s leadership team to account. This ensures we have a plan and are making progress.

Across each of these areas, our unifying approach is to focus on the areas that will drive lasting change. This helps us avoid the temptation for quick fixes which won’t move the dial.

We are also more interested in getting to a place where it is our people who are our advocates for diversity at Zaizi. If we can get to that place then we know that the numbers for female representation will follow.

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