There are many fields – including some of the highest-paying ones – in which men still vastly outnumber women. Gender and pay gaps have been hot topics in recent years, and while it’s gotten marginally better, things are certainly far from equal.
Engineering is one of those fields that has long been dominated by men. And it still is today. Many people still associate this field with men – and there’s a reason for that. Back in 2019, only 15% of America’s engineering workforce was made up of women. And despite pushes for increased STEM education for women and girls, the reality on the ground is that most people who work in the engineering field are male. Many women who have an interest in engineering end up choosing another profession or leaving the engineering world for a different field.
Here’s the good news: Companies can do plenty to promote more women entering the field of engineering. They can also do things to keep them there. And when you partner with an engineering recruitment agency like PEAK Technical, you gain access to qualified, motivated engineering talent from every gender and background.
Read on to learn more about what you can do to attract and retain more women in your engineering workforce.
The first rule for attracting a more diverse pool of engineering talent that includes women is simple: Be inclusive in your sourcing and hiring. Eliminate bias wherever you can by conducting blind hiring—this means removing names and identifying information from applications and resumes so that hiring managers don’t let unconscious bias into their choices. Look into women-only networking groups or women-focused coder camps to source talent.
Inclusion goes beyond the hiring process, too. Create a company culture that is welcoming to all employees. When people feel that they’re valued, included, and respected, word gets around—and that’s good for attracting more and more diverse talent, as well as keeping great people from jumping ship. Also, make sure you have a robust program in place for training, development, and advancement. Since women are the minority in this field, it’s vitally important that they see your company as somewhere they can grow in their careers.
Provide Options & Flexibility
Women left the workforce in record numbers during the height of the pandemic, many citing family responsibilities at home. Now, it can be harder for women to rejoin the workforce than it is for men—especially for new mothers. Consider that in a field like engineering where women already face more entry barriers, and it only compounds the problem.
What can your company do? Be flexible and provide options that attract more women to the field. Remote work options are more popular than ever in today’s workforce, especially to moms who may need to be home with their children but still want to work. If a fully remote option isn’t a possibility, there are hybrid arrangements, flexible working hours, compressed workweeks, and other options out there that you can offer.
PEAK Technical partners with many companies offering remote engineering opportunities for candidates. If your organization is looking to hire engineers remotely, get in touch to learn more about our engineering staffing services.
Explain Your Purpose
What do your job listings say about your open positions, and your company at large? Sometimes, companies can unknowingly deter women from applying, simply because of the language used. This is even more likely in fields like chemical or mechanical engineering where there is already a strong gender stereotype, so you’ll want to craft those job descriptions carefully.
The trick is explaining thoroughly what the job is and how the candidate will be making a difference. Explain the purpose behind the job, rather than just listing responsibilities and qualifications. And be careful to avoid gender-coded wording, such as asking for a “superhero” engineer or a “coding ninja.” Too often, this kind of skewed language turns off a large portion of potential applicants, women included.
A final tip for your job ads: Don’t include a laundry list of skills. Women are much more likely to avoid applying for a job if they don’t feel they’re completely qualified. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to apply to jobs even when they don’t meet all the criteria. Listing a vast number of skills on your job ads is only turning away great people—including the many talented women engineers who you’re looking to source.
Build a Strong Retention Strategy
Diversity hiring is one thing. Retaining those diverse people is quite another. That’s why it’s so important for companies to build and implement a strong retention strategy into their recruitment plan. When you have a formula in place for retention, it helps keep the best people around. So, what should that formula include?
Part of it is what’s mentioned above—making sure that employees have flexibility in their day-to-day, as well as opportunities for growth and development in their careers. A strong retention strategy also includes positive company culture, competitive pay, attractive perks, and great benefits.
When you partner with PEAK Technical to source diverse engineers to fill your open roles, you can rest assured they’re being offered top benefits including medical coverage, dental and vision, 401(k), and paid holidays and sick days for qualified employees. Learn more about the benefits we offer here.
Choose Your Recruitment Channels Wisely
What kind of recruitment channels are you using? It might be time to think outside the box if you’re finding that your recruiting is biased toward the male gender. Consider reaching out to local engineering schools, women-centered job platforms, or women-focused online groups (Girls Who Code, for example) to see if you can start being more inclusive in your hiring.
Choosing a recruitment partner committed to diversity is another great way to ensure your recruiting process is gender diverse. And going about the talent sourcing and hiring process alone can be frustrating and time-consuming, not to mention expensive. Plus, your team is probably wrapped up in other tasks and may not have the time necessary to devote to diverse, inclusive hiring. That’s why partnering with an engineering recruitment agency that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion like PEAK Technical makes so much sense.
We make it our mission to place qualified engineers of every gender with great companies in need of top talent. Whether you’re looking to reach diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B) goals or you’re simply looking to expand your roster of engineering talent, PEAK is here to help.
When you’re recruiting new hires for open engineering positions, it’s a delicate balancing act. It’s important not to deter any one group. And in the world of engineering, the group that has traditionally been deterred is women. When most people think of this field, they think of men—and it’s high time for that to change.
Doing your part to hire inclusively and with diversity in mind isn’t just about meeting a quota or improving your employer’s brand. It’s the right thing to do. And it helps widen your net to bring even more talented people to your organization. Remember: In the end, the goal is to hire a competent, motivated engineer, regardless of gender. But it’s important to recognize that this is a group that has been traditionally underrepresented in the field, so you’ll want to be extra cognizant of the effort to recruit and retain women for your engineering roles.
Contact PEAK Technical for recruiting great talent
Are you in the market for talented engineering professionals—men and women alike—who can help your organization rise to the next level? Trust PEAK Technical Staffing’s engineering staffing services to get the job done right. We place talent in R&D, manufacturing, defense and aerospace, construction, bio-med, medical supply manufacturing, field engineering, and much more. And because we offer contract, contract-to-hire, direct-hire staffing, and payrolling services, we’re sure to have a staffing solution that works for you.
Contact PEAK Technical Staffing to get started on your talent search and find the engineers that can help your organization thrive.