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WiCipedia: 'Blind' hiring may offer solutions for women in tech

This week in our WiC roundup: Returnships could offer post-pandemic option for women who left jobs; blind interviews create hiring solutions; how work culture should change to accommodate employees; and more.

Eryn Leavens

May 14, 2021

4 Min Read
WiCipedia: 'Blind' hiring may offer solutions for women in tech

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Returnships could offer post-pandemic option for women who left jobs; blind interviews create hiring solutions; how work culture should change to accommodate employees; and more.

  • Have you ever neglected to submit a job application because you were worried about gender discrimination, or because you didn't feel qualified enough? Or maybe you weren't called in for an interview even though you felt you were a good fit for the job? Blind interviews may be the answer to your woes, explains Project Ada. Women tend to snag tech job interviews in much lower numbers than their male counterparts for a range of reasons. Yet when blind hiring tactics such as eliminating gender-identifying application questions are employed, studies have found that the rate of women getting called in for interviews goes up markedly, from a measly 5% to a whopping 54%. Several recruiters have begun to use this tactic, and our hope is that the rest will follow. A nearly 50% increase should be enough to convince them. (See WiCipedia: The lack of women in tech is bigger than a 'pipeline problem'.) Figure 1: Sex and gender should not impact interview worthiness (Source: Pixabay) (Source: Pixabay)

    • It's no secret that women have left the workforce in droves throughout the pandemic. In fact, the number of women who have bid farewell to their jobs is reaching nearly 3 million just in the past 12 months, TechRepublic reports. "Because of the added pressures of childcare, eldercare, homeschooling and Zoom meetings – which, more often than not, fall to female members of the household – the findings aren't a huge surprise. Recent data from the NWLC highlights the problem in stark terms: 570,000 moms have departed from the labor force over the past year," the article states. So how do we get women back into the workforce once the pandemic finally ends? The answer may be returnships, particularly paid returnships, since no one should be working for free. Companies like T-Mobile and Deloitte have seen success with their super-competitive returnship programs, culminating in overwhelming conversion to full-time jobs after the programs ended. While these initiatives aren't the norm at most companies yet, we hope higher ups will see the need for them and implement opportunities soon. (See Forman Pioneers a Path Forward for Women Returning to Work.)

    • While the goal is for companies to ethically diversify (it's not just a numbers game!) their workforces, if employees aren't satisfied with their roles that diversification is pretty pointless, says Fast Company in an article titled, "If the women in your company aren't thriving, your business isn't either." The goal is to build a work culture where everyone's needs are met and supported, both inside and outside of work. Since 40% of women in tech end up leaving their jobs because of "workplace culture," this is no laughing matter. So what can companies do to support a variety of different lifestyles and cultures? Some of the changes that have happened during the pandemic may be the way forward. From offering employees permanent flexibility in terms of where and when they work, helping with childcare, making mental health resources available and easing up on policies regarding time off, we may already be on the right track to ensuring that employees' needs are met and that they want to stay in the tech industry. (See WiCipedia: A post-pandemic restructuring opportunity for WiT.)

    • Plenty of critics have strong opinions on how the shift back to in-office work will affect women in tech as well. An article, titled "It's not their job to buy you cake," explains that the way tech companies have created a culture full of perks and extras that tie employees not directly to their work but to a sort of expected set of cultural interactions that have little to do with work isn't fair. Cathy Merrill, CEO and owner of Washingtonian Media (i.e., The Washington Post), recently came under fire for saying that "'20% of every office job' is devoted to creating and sustaining office 'culture,'" and that she was worried about employees wanting to continue to work from home after the pandemic is over. She further opined that if employees wouldn't be partaking in in-person office interactions, they were much more like contractors than employees, despite holding the same schedule and workload. Shortsighted much? (See WiCipedia: Nature vs. Nurture & the Moms at Work Dilemma.)

      — Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading. Follow us on Twitter @LR_WiC and contact Eryn directly at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Eryn Leavens

Special Features & Copy Editor

Eryn Leavens, who joined Light Reading in January 2015, attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before earning her BA in creative writing and studio arts from Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. She also completed UC Berkeley Extension's Professional Sequence in Editing.

She stumbled into tech copy editing after red-penning her way through several Bay Area book publishers, including Chronicle Books, Counterpoint Press/Soft Skull Press and Seal Press. She spends her free time lifting heavy things, growing her own food, animal wrangling and throwing bowls on the pottery wheel. She lives in Alameda, Calif., with two cats and two greyhounds.

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