It comes as no surprise that diversity within the software industry is a hot topic. The tech industry has been under the microscope after a decade of some improvements, there is still not enough being done to diversify the workforce within the software industry.
While there has been a slight increase in the number of women software engineers over the last few years it is still significantly less. While overall in the tech industry, women currently make up less than 24% of the tech workforce, globally, only 5% of software engineers identify as female. In the UK only 1 in 8 women take up roles across software development and programming.
This issue sits at all levels, with women within software only taking up 10% of board positions and 16% of managerial roles. However, the issue does not stop with the gender divide. Studies have shown that both race and neurodivergent are significantly underrepresented: Less than 13% of people working in the industry come from an ethnicity other than white, and the British Computer Society deemed that neurodiversity was overlooked by the tech industry with less than 16% of full-time employees are neurodiverse.
Why does a diverse workforce matter?
Diversity is actually good for business. More inclusive environments regularly demonstrate that it can lead to improved internal teams, better products, and services. Studies have shown that diversity in teams improves productivity and with multiple unique perspectives can drive teams forward. In 2020 McKinsey analysis showed that leadership which was made up of different backgrounds, or had more women in top positions, consistently outperformed those which didn’t.
Diversity doesn’t just improve businesses internally. Diverse teams have been more successful in opening new markets by having more perspectives from different backgrounds, launches became naturally more inclusive and as a result, a business who actively looks for diversity within its team is 70% more likely to successfully launch into new markets.
With the UK advertising around 750 new software developer roles every day, there is considerable opportunity to improve when it comes to inclusion hiring.
So how does the software industry increase diversity?
There are several steps the software industry could do to help when it comes to building more diverse teams.
Simple changes such as considering your job listings to have more inclusive language and be made clear that everyone is treated fairly. Creating more generic language rather than listing specific skills can also encourage more applications and increase the number of diverse applicants.
Being knowledgeable about your talent pipeline is also key. Information so that you can see where you may have underrepresented groups throughout your hiring process allows you to challenge your own steps to ensure inclusion is happening throughout the process and make adjustments to ensure everyone is being treated fairly.
With good talent being difficult enough to find, many software businesses are turning to specialist recruitment agencies to help improve their diversity hire. Not just to help find more diverse talent for their roles but also to consult on better practices within their internal talent function. Specialist talent partners like C4S Search have access to a significant talent pool which can not only help businesses find the skills they need but also help them build diverse teams which will improve their company overall.