So, you want to hire more women into your technical teams: Part 2

"We would really love to have women engineers on our team, but none apply"

So, you want to hire more women into your technical teams: Part 2

Hiring women into technical teams - Part 2

Having diversity in your technical teams isn’t just a ‘nice to have’, the research around business outcomes is strong and has existed for over a decade. But that doesn’t mean you are failing if you aren’t there yet. 

In Part 1 of this series, we acknowledge that improving diversity in your technical teams isn’t easy and isn’t a quick fix. We talked about looking into the ‘why’ behind your decision to work on improving diversity. A lot of the challenges come when people start at the Hiring Stage, which is actually Stage 3 in the journey. Trying to start at Stage 3 is a sure fire way to set yourself (and your organisation) up for failure, which leads to disillusionment and people quickly giving up on the process. 

The Four Stages

There are four stages to hiring more women into your technical teams:

  1. Evaluate
  2. Attract
  3. Hire
  4. Retain

If you haven’t read it, we’d recommend reviewing Stage 1: Evaluate before we move on to considering how to attract more diverse candidates to your technical teams. 


Many organisations put up roles and wonder why they do not get applications from women, and then conclude it’s the dreaded “pipeline” problem and there's nothing that can be done. However, for you to be able to attract women to apply for technical roles at your organisation, you first need to appeal to them. You may need to adjust some of your company’s external talent acquisition strategies because you might inadvertently be sending signals that are turning women away.
In order to attract more diverse talent, there are two main areas for review; your employer branding, and your job postings.

Ensure your employer branding promotes gender diversity

Take a moment and review your company’s employer branding from the perspective of gender diversity. A woman is more likely to want to join an organisation that’s already making strides to improve their diversity than one that is male-dominated and showing no efforts to improve. Have a look at your website and think about what story that could be telling.

If you are just meeting the legal requirements for gender diversity, that’s a good thing, you’re on the right pathway. It’s important to make sure this information is accessible, but don’t overly promote it. If you’re further along the diversity journey, let people know. In order to attract women to your organisation, they need to know that you care about them. Another way to demonstrate that your organisation isn’t just about ticking the diversity box and ‘pink-washing’ is to work with organisations like Project F where you can gain accreditations.

Highlight any existing gender diversity

Even if your workplace is male-dominated, chances are there are some women in your organisation. Work with them to figure out ways you can highlight them. This can include encouraging them to speak at events (along with providing them the resources, including paid time, to do so) or featuring their profiles on your website. 

Note that not all women will be comfortable with doing this, so be careful about pressuring them to do this, or expecting them to do this as additional work on top of their day-to-day responsibilities.

Diversity work is work, and needs to be treated as such with the appropriate time allocated to it. It is not something to be done in addition to someone’s day-to-day job, and it should not penalise someone's career progression. I have seen examples of women being asked to run the diversity ESG in their organisations, and then be reprimanded because of the time and effort it's taken them.

Avoid appearing in events that lack gender diversity

Unfortunately we still see events that feature all-male panels, or for conferences to have many speakers without a single woman. Should your company appear in one of these, you may lead women to think that your organisation doesn’t value them.

If one of your male employees is invited to speak at such an event, raise this issue with the organiser. If there’s a woman in your organisation who would be a good fit, consider suggesting her instead. 

Is your company leadership hosting or speaking at events with all-male panels? 

Are most of the photos on your LinkedIn groups of men?

These things need to be reviewed and changed.

If your company is sending a cohort of people to a conference, consider the gender diversity of the group, as they will be your brand ambassadors in the community. 

Participate in, sponsor, or partner with organisations that promote diversity

There are some great opportunities to get involved with women and girls in tech.

Here are a couple organisations operating in Australia that run via sponsorship models:

  • Women Coders (previously Women Who Code)  - empowering diverse women to excel in technology careers.
  • Tech Leading Ladies - bridging the gender gap in technical leadership.

If sponsoring these community groups is something you are interested in pursuing, reach out to us here and we’ll make sure you get connected with the right people.

Write inclusive job postings

Job postings are often candidates’ first chance to learn about your company, and so it is essential that they make them feel welcome. When you consider inclusive job postings, they have typically considered the following:

Avoid assuming a gender in the description

Instead of writing “The candidate will design software systems in his day-to-day work…” you could use the gender-neutral “their,” or instead change the listing to use the second-person “you.”

Avoid buzzwords when describing employees

Nicknames like “rockstar,” “ninja,” and “hacker” not only turn away women, they also date your organisation and processes back to the early 2010s.

Keep requirements to those that are absolutely essential

Extremely long lists of requirements that may actually be optional can work to make women opt out of the process. It’s better to think about what’s required vs. ‘nice to have’ in your listing. Women tend to self-select out of job postings when they don’t meet 100% of the requirements, whereas men apply if they meet at least 60%, according to a HBR article.

It’s worth taking time to consider what is actually required, and what is teachable. Most technical people have learned how to learn languages, dismissing someone because they’ve been writing in Ruby for the last couple of years and you want someone to work in JavaScript could be limiting your opportunity to hire great people.

A good question to sit with is “what work will be done in this role?”, as opposed to starting with a job title and putting in requirements that you’re used to. 

Showcase your organisation’s values and opportunities for growth

Have you ever found yourself working at an organisation where your values don’t align? It becomes hard to go to work each day, and engagement and performance reduces. It’s not enjoyable for anyone. However, if your organisation’s values are clear, then people who are aligned with self-select to work with you, and those who have different values are less likely to want to be there.

Mckinsey and Co found that career development is the single most cited factor among people evaluating their jobs. 40% of technology hires who took a new job, said one reason for doing it was the opportunity to advance. In light of this, if you have clear pathways for learning and growth, you will be more attractive to technologists, and will be appealing to people with a growth mindset.


When listing your role or company benefits avoid “beer taps”, “ping pong tables”, etc. These benefits only appeal to a small demographic. Instead, consider highlighting things such as your flexible work arrangements, or your different leave policies. When you do this, makes sure you talk about more than the legal minimums. 

Further resources for creating inclusive job posts:

(we’ll go over this again in part 3)

You can try using the free tool Textio Loop or  Gender Decoder to check your job post for inclusive language.

For Stage 2, you need to work through the following steps:

  • Review and adjust your employer branding so that it promotes gender diversity.
  • Ensure your job postings are inclusive,

At Kaleida, we have years of experience building diverse technical teams, if you want some more help with this process, get in touch.

Next week we will look at Stage 3: Hiring.

Part 1: Evaluate
Part 3: Hire
Part 4: Retain