Recruiting Female Tech Candidates Starts with the Job Description

I feel like a broken record every time we bring up the tight labor market. As talent acquisition professionals, you know the struggles of finding talent these days, so why rub salt into the wound, right? And this is especially true when it comes to hiring tech talent.


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According to[1] contributor Mack Gelber, 65% of tech leaders say that hiring challenges are hurting the industry. Gelber says that there is an overall shortage of skilled tech workers who know how to code, whether they’re doing mobile app backend development or developing cloud-computing platforms. Because tech workers are in such high demand, these jobseekers have the upper hand, but research continues to show[2] that men still dominate the tech space.

Additional Data on Female Tech Workers

While the tech space may still be male-dominated, new research from Handshake[3]—a career community for college students in the United States—shows that women are still underrepresented across all Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors, not just technology.

Over a third of female applicants (35%) who are in software engineering and developer roles majored in non-STEM-related curricula. Despite some women not having a STEM degree, over half of all female applicants for software positions listed on their résumé a technical expertise such as Java, Python, SQL, and data analyses.

Even though women may be underrepresented across STEM roles, many are entering the technology space. The results show more women are applying to software engineering and developer positions than the previous year. Specifically:

  • 72% more women applied for roles as software developers and engineers;
  • 85% more women applied for roles as data scientists; and
  • 227% more women applied for roles as data engineers.

The results also identified that women were most drawn to businesses that have:

  • Aspiring leadership;
  • A supportive culture;
  • Managers who mentor and offer opportunities for professional development; and
  • Work that is impactful.

Handshake’s survey identified the top employers that are recruiting female tech talent, which include Cisco, Wayfair, Microsoft and Oracle, Dropbox, and Adobe Systems. The top cities that attracted the most female applicants to the Internet and software industry included Boston; Los Angeles; New York; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C.

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