Liz Pope
Nov 25, 2015
3 mins reading time

My thoughts on Women in Tech

I was at a conference this week and looking round the room I noticed (once again) a lot of men. I’m going to guess at it being an 85:15 split men to women, though the speaker split seemed more even - credit where credit is due. It got me thinking again about the gender issues in our industry and gave me the push I’ve needed to finally write a blog about it.

In our company we have over 30 full time developers/engineers across our two web teams. Fewer than five are women. Even our Testing team, a role which I’ve always found to be more evenly balanced, is nearly three quarters male. I’m responsible, to a large extent, for the make up of the team and this year I’ve done a lot of recruitment. All of the engineers I’ve recruited have been male. Why? Am I sexist? (Against my own sex!) No, of course not! So why no women?

I’ve taken a look at all the applications we’ve had for our engineering roles in the past 12 months, and found the following: Of 109 applicants there were only three women

If you consider that of those 109 applicants we’ve hired just six* people then the chances of one of those six being a woman is… (please wait while I do maths)… 0.16%. That’s crazy low!

*If those hire statistics seem strange then I should point out that they are slightly skewed by agencies sending lots of unsuitable candidates who didn’t make the first CV sift. I don’t have post first sift data to hand - so these numbers will have to do for now! I’ll put together a blog post on our hiring process another time!

Regardless of how you read those statistics, three female applicants in 109 is low. Far too low. But it does answer the question of why I haven’t hired a female engineer this year - they just aren’t applying. I can’t give a job to someone who doesn’t apply. But that raises a more important question - Why aren’t women applying?

That question is an entire blog post in its own right but my gut feeling says it’s because of a lack of female engineers in general. Girls 10 years ago didn’t code at school so we don’t see them in tech today (I myself dropped my Computer Science class because the teacher didn’t give me the support to catch up to my male classmates). We need to educate girls from a young age, and to support those past school age with an interest in re-training through grants and accessible training programmes - which is beginning to happen.

However, I don’t want to assume that there is nothing I can do to encourage more women into tech and just sit waiting 10 years until the school girls of today are entering work! So I’d love to hear ideas as to how I can encourage more women to apply to Holiday Extras and why they don’t already. Maybe our job adverts don’t seem inclusive, or as a team we don’t come across as female friendly, I hope that’s not true - but I’d rather know so it could be fixed!. So please get in touch if you have an opinion on this. Or if you’re a woman looking for a job then consider applying to us!

In six months I’d love to write a blog post publishing further recruitment figures showing an increase in female applicants and to have at least one new female recruit! Help me achieve it!

Tags women, developers, engineers, recruitment, jobs