Are your hiring teams working inclusively? The qualities you need to ensure a diverse workplace

In today’s professional environment, having an inclusive workplace that promotes gender equality is not just ethically beneficial but also ideal for productivity and culture – especially in the technology industry.

This all starts with the hiring process.

So, take a moment to ask yourself: are your hiring teams recruiting inclusively?

If the answer is no, or you’re unsure, we’re here to help. This blog will guide you toward more inclusive hiring practices and shine a light on the qualities you need to ensure you have a diverse workplace that supports the women working in your technology teams and leadership.

We’ll unpack why inclusive hiring is key to the success of your organisation and how you can take actionable steps to ensure your team is fostering gender diversity from the very beginning of the employee experience.

The 101 importance of a diverse workplace

We already know that technology is a male dominated sector, where women make up just 26% of the workforce. Inclusive hiring in pursuit of a gender-equal tech workforce leads to a variety of benefits, not just in theory, but in practice.

This is backed up by a global study by the Boston Consulting Group which found that companies with above-average total diversity have 19% higher innovation revenues and 9% higher EBIT margins.

So, what’s driving these startling statistics?

For starters, gender-diverse teams in tech bring a broader variety of perspectives to the table, leading to more creative problem-solving and innovative ideas.

They also lead to a culture of empathy and understanding, enhancing collaboration and team dynamics. As well as boosting internal morale, diverse teams are a better reflection of a tech company’s customer base, leading to improved market insights and customer relations.

With these statistics in mind, it’s no surprise that 67% of job seekers consider diversity an essential factor when evaluating job offers.

But unfortunately, many tech companies aren’t listening, yet.

The current state of Diversity & Inclusion in the tech industry.

Despite the proven benefits of a diverse tech workforce, the current picture of the industry remains pretty grim. In fact, this is the case across much of the Western world where in Australia, the UK and the US, just 16% of Computer Science graduates are women.

So what is causing this disconnect between business ideals and hiring outcomes?

There are a number of factors at play, but one of the most prominent is the significant “confidence gap” between male and female applicants. Where men will typically apply for a role once they’ve ticked just two boxes on a job description, women are much less confident in their experience and will expect to tick all competencies before they even consider applying. 

With modern tech job descriptions typically displaying extremely long lists of required competencies, this means many more men are applying than women.

This is especially concerning considering most interview panels are male-heavy with 77% of tech director roles being filled by men.

Prevalent as these occurrences may be in the industry, they can be easily overcome by tech companies taking on the responsibility of creating change.

3 Strategies to Improve Gender Diversity in your tech workplace

1.   Test with real-life criteria

Emphasising real-life problem-solving assessments during the hiring process encourages an environment of diversity and inclusion. By focusing on a candidate’s ability to tackle practical challenges rather than overly specific and in some cases “trick” questions, individuals are evaluated based on their practical capabilities.

This shifts the emphasis from merely ‘catching out’ candidates to understanding their problem-solving skills, creativity, and adaptability—qualities essential for success in the tech environment.

2.   Ensure gender balanced interview panels

Establishing balanced interview panels is a critical step toward mitigating unconscious biases and promoting gender diversity in tech. By creating panels that include individuals from diverse backgrounds and from all genders, companies create a more equitable hiring process and also send a clear message about the organisation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

3.   The 40-40-20 Gender Split Strategy

The 40-40-20 gender split strategy is an aspirational framework for achieving gender equality within tech companies. This model advocates allocating 40% of positions to each gender, with the remaining 20% left flexible. By striving for this balanced distribution at every level, organisations can create a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion without the overly rigid expectation of a perfectly 50-50 split.

As is to be expected, this approach has been shown to result in a 50% improvement in team collaboration and commitment and 20% greater employee retention.

Test your workplace’s commitment to gender equality in a few clicks

Project F is a for-profit, social impact business with a laser focus on solving the problem of poor gender diversity in technology.

That’s why we’ve created the Inclusive Tech Tests Playbook, unpacking DEI Foundations – the WHY, WHAT & HOW of inclusivity in software engineering tech tests.

Download the playbook for your organisation, or check your Gender Diversity maturity with our fast and simple “Pulse Check” to help you find out how your company ranks on Project F’s Tech Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Maturity Scale.

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Further reading

How to build a genuinely diverse and inclusive tech workforce without underestimating women’s abilities and potential.
By prioritizing Diversity and Inclusion, startups can tap into a multitude of benefits that will propel their success. Let’s explore.
Uncover the differences between traditional and progressive HR and how the latter is essential to build diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, especially on the verge of the fifth revolution.