March 13, 2024

Narrowing the Gender Gap in Tech


Episode Highlights

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In this episode of The Hirewell Update, hosts Ryan Brown and Emily Goor discuss the narrowing gender gap in the tech industry, highlighting recent data showing an increase in female participation in tech roles.

They explore how flexible working arrangements and the pandemic have contributed to this trend and emphasize the importance of continuing to promote diversity in the workplace, especially in tech. The episode also touches on the significance of ensuring a diverse workforce.

The hosts encourage tech companies to maintain flexible working policies to support gender diversity and predict the market’s response to ongoing and future changes in workplace arrangements.

Episode Transcript

Excited for this week’s Talent Insight segment. You alluded to this, I think a little bit last week, but we’re talking about narrowing the gender gap in tech. We sure are. And you know, for many years, one of the major glaring talent issues across technology has been without a doubt the lack of gender diversity.

We’ve seen some promising data though, that really showcases the narrowing inbalance specifically over the last four years, which is very exciting. In the U.S. alone, the proportion of female workers in tech rose 31% in 2019, and then up to 35% by the end of 2023. So, some pretty exciting stuff there.

Okay. Like 4% increase in a few years. So we’ll take it. That’s incredible. Absolutely. I know at Hirewell, we’ve also focused on like providing a diverse slate of candidates for all of our talent solutions with clients. It’s been challenging to do so within like IT and tech space specifically. What do you think has attributed to the recent narrowing in that gender gap?

I think it’s a few things. So the pandemic definitely served as a pivotal point in this journey. And I think part of it was because there was a higher tolerance for flexible working arrangements. Many organizations went remote or have flex hours. And then I think we can couple that with gender equality policies that started to come out in, you know, a higher volume during that time. As well as just in general, you know, post 2020, there was a massive surge in strong demand for top talent. I love that you mentioned the flexible work environment. We’ve chatted a lot, right? We’ve chatted quite a bit about this over the last several episodes. I think oftentimes the burden of family responsibilities, like specifically with children, falls on women, which, you know, it limits the types of jobs that they can consider.

And you know, like, I think obviously, you know, you might call like that an old school take, but like that-

the data supports it. Yeah, exactly. And we love data, the data supports it, and we love data. So, there was an article, in the financial times and it stated that companies that only require people in the office for one or two days a week, hire 27% more women than those who have five day mandates, like five day in office mandates.

Yep. Do I need to like say that again? 27% more women if you have a flexible work environment versus a five day mandate. I think this data makes a really, really strong case to support why flexibility is so important for diversity. Exactly. It totally does and like you mentioned, like the data is there.

It’s not lying. It’s- you know, we’re seeing that across the board, but I think we’ve also seen an increase in general and women joining STEM programs during maybe their undergrad or earlier in their careers. Organizations like girls who code and women in technology who these organizations are empowering women at various stages of their education and or careers to pursue STEM roles, and I think their efforts have really helped to create more diverse pipelines for tech positions in general and at different stages, right?

So, we’re not just seeing that transition as somebody’s like been in a different role and then you know making a move to tech later we’re seeing the entry level talent diversifying as well, which is huge.

Yeah, super entry level too, like you mentioned girls who code. I used to be a school teacher. I taught, you know, my school was 6th grade through 12th grade and they had an after school program with girls who code. So I think that- I love that point of just like introducing STEM earlier. That’s amazing.

What advice though, would you give just to tech companies or hiring managers in general in the tech space? We’ve alluded to this a little bit in some of our recent episodes, Em, and it’s no surprise or shock that like tech is struggling right now. There’s not a ton of hiring going on across technology roles at the moment.

Tech industries have taken some of the biggest hits in terms of layoffs as of late. And oftentimes we’ll find that DEI is deprioritized during downturns. And so my suggestion would be for organizations to continue to lead with an equity lens, forcing people back into the office is 100% going to impact the strides that we’ve made in this space and progress has been painfully slow over the years.

So, I think we can say for a fact that it will 100% start to impact the strides that we’ve made during that time. We’ve recognized too that there is power in a diverse workforce. You don’t want to lose that. And I think that this is really going to be a pivotal time in the tech world, specifically with gender diversity, that if we continue to see that increase in forcing people back into the office without exceptions, without flexibility, that this space specifically is going to be severely impacted.

I agree completely and I think, you know, we’ve kind of, some of our episode topics sort of start to tie back into one another and-

Completely. We talked to I think it was two or three episodes ago about that, you know, the increase that we’re seeing in the mandate to be back in the office five days a week.

I don’t even think we hit on this one as an impact. No. Right. So I think I’m so glad that we were able to dive deeper and looking at like, you know, just new different ways. I don’t want to say this is new. Right? But like, new to us and exploring it on the show, but just a different way that the five day mandate is going to continue just to impact, you know, the workplace in general.

Yeah, 100%. And I think this one specifically is something that we should pay pretty close attention to through the rest of this year. We’ve talked about really trying to monitor what that mandate looks like through the remainder of the year, if it’s going to stay strong, if we’re going to start to see some flexibility.

We’ve already seen quite a bit of pushback in terms of employees that are being mandated to go back into the office. We talked about this recently too, where right now it’s an employer market. The tides will change and they will shift and it will be an employee market again at some point and these changes and the decisions that organizations are making at this time, they’re going to be remembered and folks will pay close attention to this when it’s an employee market once again.

I feel like we’re always saying like, “Oh, we don’t have a crystal ball. Like we try to make these predictions, but we’re not so sure.” What we are always, always sure about is that recruiting is cyclical. It sure is. Always, that’s like the one thing we can always guarantee. And like, we can’t guarantee the timeline on that, right? Like you’re saying right now. It’s an employer market.

I can’t sit there and say like, “Oh, but in six months it’s going to be….you know, and tides are going to change.” But that is the one thing we are always sure about. We do not need a crystal ball to tell you, recruiting is difficult. The tides will change and like you said people will remember they will take note.

They sure will. Yeah. Sure will. Well, that’s all I have for this week, Em. I mean, I think that this is like a really good topic for us to continue to monitor and pay attention to I was excited to see the data obviously in terms of you know, narrowing that gender gap. That’s so so important and tech has definitely been one of those skill sets and specifically within the industry where we’ve seen kind of the highest rates of the lack of gender diversity.

So it’s exciting to see the progress that has happened over the last four years. I’m hopeful it continues and that we don’t see a decline based on some of these mandates. Yeah. I mean, like you said, the proportion of female workers basically grew 1% for each year. Yep. I do love the trend of like 1%. Of course, I wish it were faster, but like, we’ll take it. 1% year over year, steady. Slow progress is still progress. Yeah, exactly. Well, I feel like that wraps us up for the week. What do you think? It does. Take us home. Beautiful. That’s a wrap for this week’s episode of the Hirewell Update.

Thank you all so much for joining us. As a reminder, you can find all of our content at Or if you’d like to learn more about Hirewell and our service offerings, you can check out our website. It’s We’ll be back next week, Wednesday, around noon central. We’ll see you guys then. Have a great week.

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