The men and women who work in tech are often the same.
But they can have different expectations, and many managers are wary of using stereotypes about women and minorities when they are hiring for jobs in the field.
“The general expectation is that a woman has to be a good team player,” said Jennifer Hebert, an associate professor at UC Santa Barbara who studies diversity and inclusion in technology.
“A lot of women and people of color in engineering are just trying to get to a good place, but they’re just looking for the right thing.
That’s not a stereotype.”
The lack of diversity in hiring is a problem that many employers have been grappling with for years.
In 2015, the U.S. government released its first annual report on workplace discrimination, which found that women were less likely than men to be interviewed, given equal pay, promoted, or promoted for merit and that they are disproportionately represented in low-wage occupations.
While the government did not include the tech sector in the report, several tech firms and companies including Apple, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo have committed to hiring at least one more woman and one more person of color for every position they open.
The report found that tech companies and companies with a majority-female workforce are more likely to have a diverse, inclusive workplace.
The U.K. tech industry, for example, has seen a 10% increase in women since 2011.
Hebert said the same trends exist across other industries.
“You can find women in other industries doing other things, but I think the tech industry is very much a place where that is still the norm,” she said.
“When you have a workforce that’s more gender-neutral, and you have more people of colour, you can expect that the workplace will be more inclusive.”
Hebert and other experts said the lack of gender diversity is a concern because it can lead to a lower quality of the work and an uneven playing field.
Companies must be able to meet the needs of their diverse workforce, which includes those who may be women of color, she said, and the tech workforce should not be one of the most marginalized groups.
“We don.t. need to be afraid to say, ‘We know that this is a good time for us to hire a person of colour or we don’t think that’s a good fit,'” she said of hiring practices.
“Because it’s not just about one gender, it’s about many genders.”
To ensure that the diversity of the workforce is not diminished, companies should have policies that promote diversity and diversity hiring, said Hebert.
That means setting a clear and measurable goal for each role to make sure that a specific person of interest is hired and that the company follows up with those individuals on their progress.
“Inclusiveness is the goal, not the goal itself,” Hebert added.
“That’s what we’re trying to accomplish by hiring more people who look like us.”
Women in tech face a challenge in finding roles that fit their strengths and their interests.
Heberts team found that it is very difficult to find women who are able to work in a team-oriented environment, even though many of the roles they were able to fill were related to a technology team.
He said the reason is that the work environment has changed in recent years.
“There is more opportunity for people to work on teams and more people to come into the company, which means you need more people on the team,” she added.
He told his team that he was hiring a woman for a technology project and that she was working with a team of six people, but that they had to find a role for her specifically.
“I’m not a big fan of the term ‘women in tech,’ because it’s a stereotype that everyone is like, ‘Oh, that’s not going to work,'” Hebert explained.
“But I was like, this is an opportunity that I can really make this a really good fit for her.”
Women and people with disabilities often face barriers in the tech field, and Hebert told them that they should be aware of that.
“It’s not only the technical challenges that are difficult, it is also the psychological challenges,” she continued.
“If you’re an individual with a disability, the work you do will be different.
You may not be able make a lot of headway in a career that is structured in a way that you’re not comfortable with.
And that can be a challenge.”
A diverse workforce can also help ensure that companies are not using stereotypes and stereotypes about race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, Hebert continued.
She said that stereotypes about people of different genders can negatively impact a company’s hiring process.
“To a certain extent, you need to change your approach because it becomes a big part of your job,” she explained.
She urged companies to hire people who can be trusted and who are open to working with people of all races,