6 ways to smash industry stereotypes as a tech employer

More businesses, particularly those in the tech industry, have tried to demonstrate traits of diversity, equity and inclusion in their hiring strategies. This includes trying to attract a broader range of different candidates to their roles and creating a more inclusive culture across their organisation. 

However, for many firms, this is proving much harder to do than expected. 


tech industry stereotypes

Outdated tech stereotypes still remain

It’s no secret that the tech industry has had a long-standing, problematic relationship with diversity and inclusion. When looking at leadership and workplace culture in many tech enterprises, it’s increasingly evident that many companies are failing to adequately reflect their demographics. 

While it’s good that many tech companies are prioritising the tasks of creating a diverse workforce, sadly, despite these good intentions, many people see the tech industry for what it’s always been renowned to represent – a young, white male-dominated industry. 

It is likely due to a lack of resources and understanding, rather than simply not caring about creating a diverse workforce. There are plenty of talented tech workers with a wide range of backgrounds who can and want to contribute to complex projects in this crowded and competitive industry. That said, according to Hays, 95% of employers seeking tech talent have encountered a skills shortage within the last year. 


So how can employers establish the reputation and appearance to aspiring candidates that their company can be a place to grow, flourish, learn, and improve? How can tech employers shake these outdated stereotypes to appeal to tech sector jobseekers? This guide looks to succinctly answer these questions.


Common tech industry stereotypes

Several stereotypes remain prevalent in the tech sector. These include:


  • Tech is only suitable for young people. Younger generations use technology at earlier ages, granted, but that does not mean that the tech sector is exclusively reserved for them. Numerous people that work in tech are older, many of whom do not come from specific IT backgrounds.  
  • It’s all about fixing computers. This is simply not true – technology and IT encompass a broad range of highly technical and sought-after skills, including development, hosting, software engineering, analysis, sales, programming, cyber hack detection, data science, and so much more.  
  • Tech roles don’t require social skills. Many tech roles are technical and require knowledge of coding, mathematics and more. However, the idea that tech workers do not need communication skills is completely incorrect. In fact, the tech sector nowadays values strong soft skills like the ability to be flexible, willing to learn and to communicate. 
  • Only men work in tech and IT. While the gender pay gap persists, women do venture into the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths). Balanced gender representation still has a way to go but the industry is gradually getting there.


As a tech employer, you may find it difficult to shake these stereotypes as you scale and grow your business. But we have outlined some helpful tips you can follow and integrate into your hiring strategies to attract a more diverse range of candidates.


How to dispel tech stereotypes and improve diversity in your company


1. Create an inclusive company culture

Your company culture is vital to attract and retain diverse talent. To build diversity and eliminate discrimination, you must, as an employer, establish a safe and empathetic environment. The perception that tech companies are dominated by men still lingers, so you should aim to show diverse candidates that working for you is as genuine as working in many other inclusive sectors.

You should also showcase the appealing company incentives and benefits that could be of interest. These incentives could range from flexible working, paid maternity/paternity leave and progression opportunities to share and stock options and company-funded retreats or training programmes. All of these visible examples of equality and diversity would likely draw the intrigue of more employees.


2. Break your hiring patterns

Recruiting and onboarding practices need to drastically change if companies want to appear more diverse and inclusive on the surface. Hiring managers and executives must seek help from organisations and entrepreneurs that can offer insight and expertise into hiring and developing diverse talent. This will likely involve networking at events and conferences to get your business noticed by more diverse talent at once. 

It’s also crucial to assess how your job advertisements appear to different groups of people. You should use gender-neutral and inclusive language in your ads, avoid gender stereotyping and be conscientious about how your company might appear to a diverse audience. Additionally, it’s wise to include a diversity disclaimer (among other things) because neglecting this could deter people ‌from even applying for a vacancy with you.


3. Be empathetic of location

Companies should support and be open to remote working arrangements. Post-Covid, many candidates prefer to have flexible working arrangements, instead of relocating to unfamiliar and pricier regions. 

To appeal to a wider variety of diverse candidates, show that you are open to remote work and will facilitate requests for it. It’s crucial to create an open and mutually-beneficial dialogue to establish clear expectations and boundaries, and more candidates will appreciate transparency from you as a prospective employer.


4. Demonstrate your inclusivity

Before a candidate progresses through the recruitment stages, it’s unlikely they will know what your company does to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace. One way to break this barrier is to showcase your efforts and celebrate the achievements of the diverse talent you have already employed. You can highlight any of your activities and initiatives in several ways, such as by posting on social media or producing an internal newsletter. 

Another way to demonstrate inclusivity is to actively seek responses and applications from a specific talent pool. Attending industry events aimed at improving diversity in tech can also signpost various potential candidates towards your company. 


5. Get feedback from your employees

While actively and publicly demonstrating inclusion and diversity helps dispel outdated theories about you as a tech employer, a vitally important step you can take is to speak to your team. How do they feel about your inclusion and diversity efforts? Are they satisfied and do they feel included? 

Survey employees regularly and encourage them to give honest feedback. Use this to make continual improvements.


6. Commit to closing the gender pay gap

The gender pay gap remains a persistent problem for tech employers, and recruiting more women into the sector still proves a constant challenge. If you are committed to closing this gender pay gap, you could publish public diversity statements that detail your efforts. You may also wish to consider releasing a gender pay report, even if your company does have a median pay gap. While this may deter some female candidates, others could see you as a transparent employer and one that intends to change this statistic. 


Hopefully, these guidelines can help you take the necessary steps towards becoming a more inclusive and diverse tech employer. 

Ultimately, there is still a long way to go for the whole industry to become collectively more inclusive, however, it’s reassuring that many companies are recognising the need to rid themselves of outdated stereotypes and start actively creating diverse workforces.