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Gender equality has been an important global issue that has been highlighted in recent years. Particularly in the tech industry, it is an issue that continues to resurface as many tech companies still fall far behind in establishing truly diverse teams.

While many major tech companies such as Apple and Google have pledged their support to policies like the Equal Rights Amendment, some critics see this as a statement rather than a practice that is truly reflected in their workforce.

In fact, according to a recent survey of the software development industry, only 7% of global respondents identified as female. Furthermore, female software engineers report making $8,559 less on average in comparison to their male counterparts.

Some experts even go so far as to claim that the gender gap in computer sciences may take up to 100 years to close.

What this highlights is that gender equality is a real issue within the tech industry and that tech companies need to develop hiring practices that address this disparity. A good place to start is by understanding the differences in performance between genders and whether there are any factors that could systematically help or hinder this.

With the global shift to remote workforces due to COVID-19, there is a major opportunity for tech companies to build equitable hiring practices that could accelerate the closing of the gender gap, but it needs to happen now…

So what are the big tech companies doing to boost gender equality?

Apple Aligns Innovation with Diversity

Diversity is clearly a mandated policy within Apple as a company and they actively track and share this data with the world. Tim Cook has declared that diversity ‘is the future of their company’ and over the past few years, they have implemented a series of practical inclusion policies that are aimed at fostering diversity within the company.

Between 2014 and 2018, there has been a small increase in female representation within the company, growing from 30% to 33% in their female workforce.

While it is a small increase, it is at least movement in the right direction.

Here are a few of the policies that Apple has implemented to help them close the gender gap:

  • Added more women to their executive team
  • Enacted policies to hire more diverse workers at the director level
  • Established the Diversity Network Association
  • Partnered with multiple organizations to promote women in tech

While there is undoubtedly a long way to go before the gender gap is closed, these are policies worth considering by other tech companies.

Samsung Holds Themselves Responsible

Samsung takes diversity seriously and has built a series of initiatives to help maintain accountability and diminish gender disparity within their company.

They have established the Women In Samsung Electronics (WISE) program to help encourage female leadership within the company. 

Samsung also provides a comprehensive Gender Pay Gap Report on a yearly basis that shares an in-depth review of their progress against establishing equality between genders. In 2019, they boasted an impressive 10% slash to pay disparity among their workers. 

Of course, there is still a long way to go, but as a tech company, they actually fare pretty well in terms of female representation in their employees at 40.2% as of 2019. 

That said, their progress has barely budged when it comes to female engineers, which has laid stagnant at 17% for the past three years.

SalesForce Takes Calculated Action

Salesforce has been widely applauded for its actions to address gender equality, specifically around closing the gender pay gap.

Cindy Robbins, the Chief People Officer at SalesForce, realized the potential of power within her position to begin to impact real change for women within the company in 2015. She developed a framework for a pay audit that would specifically discover and resolve any pay disparities within the company.

Robbins set out a smart and calculated plan to eliminate that which included a few key steps.

First, it started at the top. Significant changes need to come from the leadership of a company, so Robbins worked with the CEO, Marc Benioff, to secure approval and delegation of her plan.

Next, she gathered a comprehensive set of data to fully understand the problem and to identify where disparities were present. 

From there, she tackled persistent problems of bias in hiring practices. This is a key step in fostering equality and diversity in a workplace and can be achieved with anti-bias workflows.

Finally, it was about systematizing raises and promotions in a way that encouraged equitable choices.

In total, SalesForce has used over $10 million to ensure equal pay for equal work.

There’s Still A Lot More To Do…

While some tech companies are doing a better job than others, there is still a lot more to do and a long way to go before true equality is achieved. 

That said, there needs to be a focus on two key areas to ensure that gender disparities are eliminated within the tech industry:

  1. Female participation in tech needs to be encouraged through organizations and new opportunities that are available to them.
  2. Hiring practices need to be carefully considered and analyzed in order to eliminate bias, even if it is an unconscious bias.

With an aggressive pursuit of equality, the gender gap can be eliminated!

Contact us to learn how we can help you build a more diverse engineering team.

Sally Lee, Senior Lifecycle Marketing Manager at Codility.

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