First and foremost, we need to understand the definition of “talent gap”. “Talent gap”, or what is sometimes referred to as the “skills gap”, refers to a fundamental mismatch between the skills that employers seek in their employees, and the skills that job seekers possess. This mismatch makes it difficult for individuals to find jobs and for employers to find appropriately skilled workers.
Talent gaps can cause significant financial losses to an organization. According to an article by Industry Week published on November 21, 2018, talent gaps will cost the US economy as much as $2.5 Trillion over the next decade. According to a survey done by McKinsey, it showed that 44% of respondents said that their organization is most likely to experience a talent gap in the future while 43% say they currently experience the gap. In other words, 87% of companies said that they currently have talent gaps or are most likely to have one within a few years.
Women in the Tech Sector
The lack of gender diversity in IT is not a recent occurrence. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, the IT sector is dominated by predominantly white and Asian men with degrees from top universities.
Over the last few years, companies have started to realize that the group think caused by such a homogenous IT workforce limits their ability to come up with creative solutions and ideas. As a result, many leading employers have started looking for solutions and implementing innovative strategies to source and attract a wider range of talent.
According to a McKinsey Global Institute discussion paper, the demand for advanced IT and programming skills will grow by as much as 90% over the next 15 years. Tech leaders said they are expecting a significant shortage of talent within the span of the next three years. To stay ahead of the issue, the IT industry needs to consider expanding its talent pool by investing in attracting a broader range of talent, notably women.
There are multiple solutions that companies are trying to do in order to close the IT talent gap, but one tactic stands out; closing the gender gap. Women are entering the workforce on a much greater scale than before. Leveraging the ability and talent of women in your company will greatly increase productivity. As Patty McCord, former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, points out, “We did all kinds of studies at Netflix on achieving extraordinary performance, and one thing we all learned was that diverse teams perform better and produce better outcomes for customers.”
Solutions to Closing the Gender Gap
Here are the things that must be done to help close the IT gender gap:
Motivate Girls Early
Competence is composed of belief, passion, and effort. Encourage girls when they are young and teach them that technology is an exciting subject that can lead to a fulfilling career. Provide them opportunities to learn what technology can do and the support they need to thrive.
Find Talent in New Places
The common, often unintentional, approach for recruiting technical talent follows the same pattern for most companies, that is recruit men with technical degrees from prestigious universities. However, there is a much larger technical talent pool that companies can tap into. This includes individuals with credible certifications, graduates from lesser known colleges, and women returning to the workforce after a career break.
Build a Culture of Inclusion
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that women make up 47% of the workforce but only 23% are in technology. In addition to that, a survey conducted by Korn Ferry revealed that only 18% of CIO roles are held by women. To address this issue, organizations must look at the entire culture to make sure that their workplace is equally inviting for all genders.
Despite the fact that pay discrimination is illegal, women still continue to be paid less than their male counterparts. According to research done by Hired, the wage gap of men and women in tech is 3%. To mitigate the issue, salary transparency in job descriptions must be provided, upfront . This will help the job hunter understand that the pay for the role is equal regardless of gender.
Tap Into Women Returning to Work After a Career Gap
Akraya’s Women Back to Work initiative helps companies that value diversity and inclusion hire career-ready returners with technical backgrounds through custom returnship programs. This is a great way for companies to develop a pipeline of difficult to reach, female technical talent.
A Glimpse Into The Advantages Of A Gender Diverse Workplace
Gender equality is imperative for companies to compete. Here are the reasons why the gender gap in your workplace must be addressed.
It gives you bigger and wider pool talent
Women make up half of the population, so when you don’t encourage gender quality, you will be missing out on about half of the population.
Diverse teams and workforces tend to bring many different perspectives when it comes to solving problems. And studies have shown that this diversity of thought results in better outcomes. A range of perspectives can spark greater and bigger innovations and help organizations spot and take on new opportunities.
Studies have shown that women are better at reading non-verbal cues. This can help improve team processes and collaboration. This can also ensure that all are sensitive enough to know when it is their time to talk which can enhance communication within the organization.
This one is a given. When employees see that they are all given the same opportunity to succeed, then a higher retention is likely to follow.
“If we can begin to close that gender gap, it will be possible to simultaneously close the skills gap,” says Gardner Carrick, vice president of strategic initiatives at the Manufacturing Institute. Women can do what men can. While the corporate world has made advancements in progress in terms of addressing the gender gap, there is still a long way to go to achieve true gender equality in the workplace. Don’t you want to cast as wide a net as possible to entice, develop, and enhance the best and brightest talents available?
In this fast-paced and changing world, gender equality can become a competitive advantage in addressing the talent gap. This would also help your organization stay relevant and ahead. To learn more, visit our blog here.