Tech companies struggling to attract women should use the Tech Talent Charter tool to check for gendered language and make job ads more inclusive.
This is the view of Sinead Bunting, VP of marketing at Monster and creator of the Tech Talent Charter (TTC), an initiative to drive diversity and address gender imbalance in the technology industry.
Recent research from EY and Tech Nation highlighted that 58 per cent of digital companies in the North state finding talent is a key challenge for them, but retention is also a huge issue.
The Tech Talent Charter is a passionate and ambitious organisation aiming to tackle this.
With over 200 members including Atom bank, Accenture, Monster.co.uk, HP, Channel 4 and Cisco it moves away from simply talking about issues to implementing positive action to ensure women play a significant role in the growing UK tech industry.
As part of this, charter signatories get access to a tool that helps them with the language they use in job ads.
“Paste your copy into our tool, which was written by a female programmer, and it tells you how masculine or feminine your ad is,” Bunting told BusinessCloud.
“Words like ‘collaboration’ and ‘cooperation’ speak to women – of course that’s making vast generalisations – but it’s a start.”
People don’t even realise they’re using masculine language like ‘knock it out of the ballpark’ and ‘long hours expected’ which can put off women and often particularly mothers, says Bunting.
“Women have a confidence issue,” she said.
“If the job postings across the industry were written in an inclusive way you’d get more people from diverse backgrounds applying from the start and that’s where you can really make a difference.”
Once recruiters have put their ad through the tool it will also receive a TTC logo, advertising the fact they are an inclusive employer.
Another crucial step when recruiting is for employers to realise which skills are essential and which are transferrable says Bunting.
“It’s important not to be so stringent,” she said. “There aren’t enough people in tech so you’re not going to get enough applicants otherwise.
“For example, if an applicant has some coding skills they can learn another language. It’s about being more open for people to move across.”
As part of the drive, the Tech Talent Charter is hosting a series of regional events aimed at businesses of all sizes across the UK.
These events aim to bring local businesses together to learn, share best practice and solve problems, as well as map what is going on at a regional and local level, ensuring that all voices are heard on the issue and not just London-based large corporations.