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Battling Bias In Tech Recruitment

Battling bias in tech recruitment

Recent research has unearthed a troubling stat about women in tech and their experience of the recruitment process: half of women currently working in the industry feel that gender bias during recruitment is discouraging other women from entering the sector. This is detrimental because it undermines the industry’s many efforts to diversify its workforce. Additionally, a lack of diversity negatively impacts the bottom-line – diverse companies report 19 per cent higher revenue compared to their non-diverse peers.

It’s something that the team at Paratus feel particularly passionate about, as nobody should feel discouraged when applying for a role in tech. We don’t want any Paratus candidate to worry about their background, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or physical attributes.

Using inclusive language

In the research, many females said that organisations are failing to describe job roles in a gender-inclusive way. Language that’s ‘male-coded’ such as ‘lead’, ‘strong’ and ‘dominant’ are steering women away from the sector. 48 per cent of females feel that job roles are not written with women in mind.

This is especially true when a role is technical – involving coding, product design, data analysis or engineering. Similarly, many companies aren’t fully advertising the breadth of roles on offer in the industry. Non-technical roles could be of interest to females and other diverse candidates, particularly if they allow for a degree of job-sharing or flexible hours.

Offering clear career paths

Another factor that’s preventing diverse candidates from entering the sector is the lack of clear career progression. Offering the same career opportunities to all workers will boost the UK economy by £24bn every year. The demand for greater career clarity is greatest amongst female undergraduates, highlighting the need for tech companies to communicate opportunities to candidates before the recruitment process even kicks off.

Blind hiring

More companies are turning to blind hiring, removing gender, education and other diverse indicators from CVs to reduce the impact of unconscious bias. EY’s diversity amongst trainee candidates jumped 10 per cent after it implemented a blind CV policy.

Although most recruiters consciously try to avoid discriminating against people from certain backgrounds, unconscious bias still plays a significant role in slowing progress. A study found that candidates with ‘black sounding’ names such as ‘Jamal Jones’ were 50 per cent less likely to get a call-back compared to ‘white sounding’ recruits.

Aptitude testing

Blind hiring reduces the risk of bias, as does using pre-hire aptitude testing. These give a quantitative measure of a candidate’s ability that’s more black-and-white compared to a ‘gut feeling’. They are well-suited to the tech industry as well, ensuring that selection is based on technical fit-to-role and objective data.

The need for collaboration

There are many ways to tackle bias in tech recruitment and this piece offers a snapshot to help organisations get started. It’s worth exploring the area further, as the pay-off for your productivity, innovation and bottom-line will be worth it.

Every organisation must play a role in improving diversity. By working together, we can battle our collective biases and make the tech sector a more welcome place for all.

For a friendly, bias-free chat about your next career move, get in touch with us today.

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