Talent Acquisition

How remote hiring can help tech companies build a more diverse workplace

One of the most important benefits of remote work.
December 13, 2021
Galina Divakova
How remote hiring can help tech companies build a more diverse workplace

Among the many benefits of remote work companies have come to enjoy, creating a more diverse workplace is perhaps the most important one. 

Remote hiring has become a good push for inclusivity, as it helps surface the best skills and knowledge despite an applicant’s location. What this means ispeople of color, women, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ+ representatives are granted better access to tech jobs and -—recruiters are able to source and hire more diverse professionals.

Diversity in tech companies today

A quick peek at the data and diversity split at tech companies today paints a grim picture. The gender split between men and women who work in tech in Europe overwhelmingly skews male. Just look at the data from AmazingHiring’s sourcing platform.

Graph that shows the number of female and male engineers who work with top searched technologies in Europe

We clearly see that on average there are 15x times more male engineers than females for any in-demand tech skill.

What’s more, location also matters when it comes to gender equality in tech. There are several major cities that have the most women holding senior positions in tech. These include London, Paris, and Madrid, where London is leading with 8,965 senior female software engineers as of middle 2021. Based on this data, we see that job location has a significant impact on your chances of successfully finding a senior female software engineer.

Graph that shows the number of senior female software engineers in cities of Europe

Thankfully, remote hiring has offered us a life preserver.

A remote-first operating model for engineering teams provides you with access to a much larger tech talent pool.

You might want to do some talent mapping and check which countries are rich when it comes to hiring diverse engineering talent that you need.

And after you know where to find the candidates for remote jobs in your company, here is the toughest part: how to make them interested?

How to make sure that your company is attractive for diverse remote candidates

Hiring is not only about sourcing the right candidates. It is also about selling them your company as a remote and diverse workplace. You’ve got to start somewhere, and here are our tips:

1. Build a diverse hiring team

Your hiring team should be diverse to ensure that those making the decisions come from different backgrounds and are able to offer a range  of perspectives . If you see that you’re struggling to gather a diverse panel, that's the sign that you need to put more effort into bringing more diversity into your recruiting team first. 

2. Don’t put an emphasis on “years of experience” on the job description

Studies have shown that women are less likely to reach a point of “veteran” status with over 10 years of experience in software engineering. That’s because of the historical imbalance, fueled by social and cultural obstacles for women who work in tech. Moreover, there is a tendency among recruiters to overrate years of experience, which has become one of the major reasons why the gender gap in tech is so huge.

3. Research locations where you can potentially find your candidates

There are some useful stats from 2018 that describe the number of female students in Information and Communication Technology across Europe. It’s worth checking out which countries are mentioned there, as it may be helpful to expand your sourcing and recruitment operations there as well. Belgium, Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania have long been on their way to having the strongest pool of female senior software engineer candidates.  

4. Eliminate bias in job descriptions for software developers

To understand this, you have to know that male and female candidates tend to behave quite differently when applying for jobs. A study by HP has shown that women will not apply for a certain job unless they meet all requirements.

It's recommended to discuss job descriptions with your hiring team before launching promotion campaigns for these positions. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How will a female software engineer perceive those?
  • Does this job description seem inviting for a woman?

Changing the recruiting and hiring content is a great way to start your diversity efforts. It’s worth making your job description gender-neutral and cutting unnecessary skills and buzzwords that may be aimed only at men.

5. Proactively support diversity-in-tech initiatives in different regions

There are many mentorship programs for female software engineers and scholarships for female STEM students. There exists a ton of LGBTQ+ communities of software developers, or nationality or origin-targeted communities, plus notable charity organizations across the world, which support diverse people in the tech industry. Supporting these initiatives is the best way to show that your company shares these values and encourages more diversity in the industry. Define the region that your company will be hiring remote talent in, and research how you can get involved in the local initiatives.

Of course, this needs to be authentic—your company should actually be supporting the values of these communities, and HR and recruiters can become facilitators of the adoption of the values in their company. Read more about the strategies to build a diverse talent pool here on Oyster Library.

Once you are having a range of diverse candidates waiting to be interviewed, how do you ensure the hiring process is flawless and bias-free for these people?

5 tips for avoiding bias in recruiting, especially when hiring remotely

Here are some simple tips that will help you avoid bias during your recruiting and hiring processes:

1. Use a blind hiring process

This type of hiring process involves scrubbing applications of non-essential information, including schools, names, ages, etc. Big companies like Facebook or Amazon only use phone screening procedures as the first stage of the interview, as video calls can be bias-stimulating. All this helps to prevent unconscious bias and there is also a lot of software that assists recruiters with blind hiring.

2. Try implementing skill assessment

Diversity in the workplace can benefit a lot from skill tests done online. It’s worth noting that the assessment itself should be checked for bias. 

3. Spread awareness about DEI efforts 

It's important to talk within the company about diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and about how to reduce bias hiring. Investing time and money into educational sessions shows the company's clear dedication and initiative.

4. Make the interview process more structured

A structured interview process involves asking each candidate the same questions in the same order during interviews. This eliminates unconscious bias that may be present during interviews that go off-script. 

5. Actively look for bias that you may have 

Awareness about unconscious bias that members of the recruiting team may have can help to prevent bias in hiring decisions. Try to measure your implicit bias through a standardized test and reflect on the results to eliminate certain red flags. 

Conclusion

Companies can gain competitive advantages by implementing principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion, which has been proven to drive greater income and improve the work culture. Companies should put more effort into addressing hiring biases and promoting inclusivity if they want to create a good diverse culture.

Read about how the Oyster team is implementing diverse hiring practices in this blog post.

About Oyster

Oyster is a distributed HR platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. It lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches or the expense.

Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.

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