Why is the IT industry unattractive to women? What do our recruitment advertisements look like? How do we describe our workplace? Which networks do we use when recruiting?
There is a lot of work to be done when it comes to achieving gender equality and diversity in IT, both in the business world and in academia. What criteria do we apply when we employ people and how do we define competence? How can we broaden our perspectives? Growth Analysis (the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis) writes in a report that approximately one-fifth of all persons employed in IT jobs in Sweden are women. In Norrbotten County’s IT industry, the comparative figure is approximately 27 per cent. Both users and the industry lose out as a result of this unequal gender distribution.
Experiences from SATIN
Two universities with many different disciplines and local IT companies from both Luleå and Umeå took part in the SATIN project. The group of participants consisted of approximately 25 people from six different ethnicities. At the outset, the relative gender distribution was 32/68 per cent (women/men). The technology group consisted of men, the design group was mixed and the business group consisted mostly of men.
The project sponsor and chairperson of the steering committee was a man. The project manager was a man and the person in charge of gender equality and diversity-promotion activities was a woman. Men headed all the business, design and technology groups. The gender researchers involved with the project were almost exclusively women. The two evaluating researchers were a man and a woman, and gender equality matters were managed by a woman.
The steering committee was formed with the explicit aim of creating a gender-balanced group with a range of different skills and experience and this goal was realised. The same was true of the gender equality and diversity group. The aim behind the ambassadors’ group was to recruit both men and women working within the IT industry.
A recruitment advertisement from an IT company involved in the project was analysed from a gender perspective and discussed during a workshop. The company, which is currently in an expansion phase, has since reworked its recruitment advertisement and continues to develop its recruitment process.
The design group based in Umeå recruited a postgraduate student with a knowledge of both computer science and gender issues to strengthen SATIN’s design team.
- Analyse recruitment advertisements from a gender perspective.
- Analyse the recruitment process from a gender perspective.
- Use a number of different networks when recruiting.
- Use available tools, such as Equalisters (Rättviseförmedlingen)