It doesn’t matter if it’s tech, engineering, IT, construction, or manufacturing, we’re often asked, “How do we get more women to apply? It’s not even that they are turning us down, they won’t even apply.” My inside voice says, “Stop being so lazy and do the work,” but that’s not helpful. And, well, I chose a helping profession. So – I reframe.
Here’s what we ask when we start to build an inclusion strategy:
- What are you doing right now to attract women? How are you making it safe for women to even want to apply?
- What stories are becoming part of your marketing about the careers women have in your organization? In other words, what’s your external brand telling women?
- How have you changed your job postings to be more general neutral (regardless of the position)? Are you posting salary ranges?
- What are you doing in the schools and universities? Who are you mentoring/sponsoring? What programs/events is your company sponsoring where women are involved? What network events are you attending to simply just meet more women that could be potential candidates?
- What are you doing online to demonstrate your inclusive leadership style?
- How have you changed your policies and procedures to support women (recognizing that they still are most likely primary caregivers for children or elders)?
If you can’t answer any of these questions, this is where you start.
The hard truth? There is no magic wand to get women to apply to your company overnight. This is a long-term strategy that if you ever want to see traction, you have to start today knowing it could take months and years to reap the benefits.
At the end of the day, women in tech, engineering, manufacturing, IT, and construction are in high demand. We have a very long way to go. Our schools and programs still don’t have anywhere near 50% representation. Though, this shouldn’t be that surprising: after all, Toys R Us still has a blue and pink section. But hey – at least the “science” toys are in the green gender-neutral section?
Posting and praying isn’t going to do it. So if you skipped to the bottom of the blog to get the answer, it’s still: Stop being lazy and do the work.