When it comes to jobs, women value different things than men, according to Dice’s Diversity and Inclusion Survey (PDF). (Nearly 4,000 tech pros responded to the survey across the United States and United Kingdom.)
In terms of employer attributes, women value benefits above all else, followed (in descending order) by a competitive salary, manageable working hours, a challenging work environment, and positive culture. That stands in pretty sharp contrast to men, who value a challenging work environment first and foremost, followed by (also in descending order) a competitive salary, positive culture, benefits, and open/transparent communication:
For startup founders and managers looking to draw more women onto their teams, focusing on superior benefits and salary is a good place to start; but don’t neglect the impact of work-life balance and positive culture.
Workplace culture has a huge impact on tech firms’ ability to hire and retain women employees. “Two-thirds of the U.S. women surveyed feel female employees are not equally represented at senior levels within their current or most recent employers,” read the report accompanying the survey data. “And unfortunately, 63 percent of women think nothing will change this calendar year.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, some 40 percent of women reported that they’d experienced discrimination at either their current or most recent employer. “It’s clear that this could be a major hurdle to finding and sustaining the best female talent in tech,” the report added. “Not only could employers lose the female talent they currently have, but they risk recruiting future talent.”
In other words, hiring and retaining women isn’t just a matter of offering killer benefits or summer Fridays; it also hinges on changing culture—a process that requires money, a plan, and patience. For example, big tech firms such as Google have pumped considerable resources into employee diversification, only to see their employee composition shift only slightly from year-to-year (if at all). Any firm dedicated to shifting their ranks needs to commit for the long-term, and prepare for setbacks; but blending a diversity of voices into company culture really can result in stronger workflows and products.