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How to Stop Toxic Tech Culture and Include Women in the Conversation

Women’s History Month is a time I often find myself reflecting on the contributions women have made throughout history. As a mom of two teenage daughters, I am encouraged by the ongoing focus for tech startups to purposefully recruit and attract female talent. But there is always more we can do, as a society, to break the glass ceiling and showcase the intelligent and motivated women out there.


At Talent Works, a talent attraction firm where I am the SVP of North American, we wanted to gain some insights through an anonymous survey sampling women working in tech in New England and beyond. Part of our research explored the state of recruitment and employment for women in tech. It was here we found some incredibly interesting - and in some cases, disheartening - results.


To begin with, we found that 77% of women had experienced a toxic work culture within the last five years. On top of this, 21% cited that this was a frequent experience. To break the bias, we need to be doing more in the way of female inclusion. Organizations still have a big problem on their hands.


So, what can startups do to make tangible steps and change the toxic cultures within their organization, all within their budget?


Start at the Top


The majority of women that responded to our survey feel that change lies at the top (69%). But female representation is still lacking, with a recent survey carried out by TrustRadius finding that women were outnumbered 2:1 in business meetings.


Alongside this, we found that 67% were more likely to join a company that had female leadership. Given that we find ourselves in a candidate-driven market, and with prospective hires being more selective with where they choose to apply, organizations are missing out on top talent at the application stage. Solving the problem starts at the top, and businesses need to identify they have a problem and look at how they can hire or promote female talent into their organization.


Pay Women Fairly


Unsurprisingly, fixing the gender pay gap topped the list of what women felt they needed to feel supported within a tech business (63%). This was followed by the promotion of a healthy work culture and seeing more women in leadership roles.


The call for equal, fair pay continues to sound, with women paid 17.7% less than their male counterparts. If you are struggling to hire women, then making a change and choosing to be transparent when it comes to pay will drastically improve this. This is in addition to empowering the women in your organization and making them feel supported.


The Best of the Best


A company's employee value proposition is an important tool. If executed correctly, it will help you hire great candidates, as well as retain your current talent. Creating core values that are echoed throughout the hiring process and internally, will help to motivate and create unity within the business, ensuring you are hiring the best out there. Be sure you are honest, authentic, and relevant to not only attract talented women, but retain them as well.

To read the full study visit us here. And to join in on the conversation, please follow and utilize the hashtag #BreakTheBias on Twitter and LinkedIn.


About the author: Jody Robie is the SVP of North America at Talent Works, a talent attraction firm focusing specifically on recruiting and employer branding. If you have questions about your current talent strategy feel free to reach out directly to her on LinkedIn.

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