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Women in Tech

4 Ways to Attract and Retain Top Female Talent in Tech

As an industry, we all need to do better at promoting women.
4 Ways to Attract and Retain Top Female Talent in Tech
Image credit: Maskot | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Doximity
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Although technology is quickly changing the way we live and work, there is one area where our industry continues to lag: attracting and retaining top female talent.

Currently only 26 percent of the tech workforce is female and the majority work in junior or middle management positions.

Related: One Thing You Can Do to Be a Great Supporter of Women at Work

A Women in Tech report released last month by HackerRank, found there's still a significant discrepancy when it comes to women working in senior positions. Women ages 35 and older are 3.5 times more likely than their male counterparts to hold a junior position in the tech industry. In fact, over 20 percent of women over the age of 35 are in junior positions.

At Doximity, we continually strive to maintain a diverse workforce. And while we are proud of the fact that 43 percent of Doxers are women, we still have work to do, especially when recruiting for technical and engineering roles.

Here are four strategies that we believe can help tech companies recruit better and retain longer:

1. Make mentors a priority.

As a woman working in tech, I know how important it is to have access to positive mentors who support and challenge you. A survey conducted last year by Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) reported that women in tech face barriers including lack of mentors (48 percent), and lack of female role models (42 percent).

On every employee's first day at Doximity, we assign him or her a mentor who can answer questions and provide guidance. In addition to on-boarding, mentors offer valuable advice on how to develop necessary skills and shape a fulfilling career path.

We also have a Women@Dox group, led by senior managers, that sponsors a monthly breakfast series and regular lunch and learns. The breakfasts serve as an informal setting where women are encouraged to ask questions and discuss issues ranging from personal development to best practices in management to their favorite summer reads.

Related: To Shatter Glass Ceilings, Spread These Four Messages to Young Women

2. Ensure women's voices are heard.

There's nothing worse than feeling like you're not being heard or acknowledged. It's important for managers to create an inclusive and receptive environment where all voices carry equal weight.

At Doximity, we promote a culture of "straight talk" where we expect everyone to say what they mean and, in return, listen to all opinions with an open mind. If someone has a great idea, we work with them to make it a reality.

In addition, our quarterly offsite provides a venue for our entire team to come together to discuss accomplishments from the last quarter and identify areas where we can do better. Employees are encouraged to review both the positive and negative and offer ideas on how we might improve existing practices.

3. Strive to retain top talent.

By providing your team with personal development opportunities, and improving culture and morale, tech companies can not only recruit top talent but also retain valuable employees.

Evidence has shown that after approximately 12 years of working in the tech field, half of all women leave their jobs due to feeling isolated or stalled in their careers.

At Doximity we've maintained a fairly flat organizational structure, so Doxers have visibility into many different job functions within the company. Managers work with their team to ensure people are on the right career trajectory. And, if not, try to find the best spot for them. We hire really talented people and know that the right career fit goes a long way to maintaining a positive, productive relationship on both sides.

Every other week, we hold "shack" lunches where we provide free meals to five randomly assigned colleagues. This gives employees a chance to meet and mingle with Doxers from other departments and to also learn about opportunities within the company.

Related: Stop Focusing on the 'Pipeline Problem.' Tech's Diversity Issues Run Deeper.

4. Offer real work-life balance.

Eight years ago, when we first launched Doximity, I worked to find a balance between being a mother and being the co-founder of a small startup. I taught at my children's preschool one day a week and really enjoyed being a part of their developmental milestones. Yet, volunteering at their school didn't mesh well with my work hours or long commute.

After talking with my colleagues and finding other employees faced similar challenges, we decided to offer "Work from Home Wednesdays." By telecommuting one day each week, employees often get more done with fewer distractions. In addition, with the time saved by not commuting, our employees have "extra time" for medical appointments or volunteering in their child's classroom. In fact, Work from Home Wednesday has led to less absenteeism (and therefore more opportunity for in-person collaboration) on other days of the week. And on Thursdays, the team returns to the office energized.

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