Study takes mystery out of hiring tech women

By Mitzi Perdue

(WOMENSENEWS)--Companies have plenty of practical ways to hire more women in the high-paying fields of science, technology, engineering and math, the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology finds in a 50-page report released today.

To prevent unconscious gender biases during the pre-screening part of the interview, for instance, hiring managers should conceal the names attached to resumes, according to the authors.


In addition, the report recommends every open technical position should include a viable female candidate.

Companies can also follow the example of IBM, a consistent star on women-friendly rankings, by providing cash incentives for female employees to tap into their personal social networks to recruit more women. The technology giant, based in Armonk, N.Y., estimates that close to 30 percent of all their hirings of professional women worldwide are made through such personal connections.

"Solutions to Recruit Technical Women," was co-authored by Caroline Simard, and Denise L. Gammal, both from the Anita Borg Institute. Their findings were based on academic research and proven corporate practices.

Knowing why women are under-represented in technical fields, (reasons include unconscious biases in the recruiting process, lack of role models and mentors, plus organizational cultures that hurt recruitment and retention) the authors look at how companies such as Intel, Cisco, Google and IBM have lowered barriers.


The Anita Borg Institute, based in Palo Alto, Calif., was founded in 1997. Its name honors the founder of Systers, the first online community for women in computing. The group encourages the development of women technology leaders.

Women make up only 24 percent of the work force in science, technology, engineering, and math. They hold some of the best-paid jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Women who hold these jobs average $31.11 per hour, compared with the $19.26 women earn on average in other occupations.

"What's really cool," says Jerri Barrett, vice president of marketing for the Anita Borg Institute, "is while everyone for years has been talking about, 'How do we get more women in technology jobs?', this report gives answers. We're sharing with the world how to recruit more women."

Barrett says companies have good reason to care about recruiting women. "If you're in a technology industry, and you're ignoring half the human race, you'll find that there are holes that are difficult to fill, and you'll sacrifice innovation and profits."

Read more at Women's eNews.

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