Tuesday 11 October 2016 8:59 am

How your business can produce the next Ada Lovelace

Ever wondered why you struggle to hire women?

This is a question often thrown in our direction at GeekGirl Meetup UK. It’s still not good enough that, according to Deloitte, women make up 18 per cent of the UK’s tech industry.

There are numerous reasons why you may struggle to hire women in tech and why there is a lack of us. We could go on and on about the pipeline of talent, why we need to inspire and educate the next generation and their parents and teachers, why access to talent from other countries is key to plugging the talent deficit, why competition is high, unconscious bias is rife, and hiring techniques must change. But what I want to focus on today is the culture and environment you have in your business.

At our annual conference this past weekend, we discussed diversity in the workplace and one key point made by our audience was on attrition. One of the biggest issues after hiring a woman, is keeping them.

It’s all well and good getting someone in through the door, but then what?

We firmly believe seeing is believing and that if you want to talk-the-talk, you have to walk-the-walk. If you want a diverse work culture, and to hire more women, you have to do more than just fill a quota or take a photo of your organisations diverse mix of employees to look good – you need to support them. Create the new female role models for us and the next generations to come, to look up to.

Build a culture that builds them – developing a rock star employee in a supportive culture.

There are many different options available to you – but some require businesses to champion new policies that even our government isn’t championing.

Look at how you can best support your female employees to get them to where they want to be, but also review your company culture and address employee wide unconscious bias.

Consider training programmes, personal and professional development options, equal pay, quicker rewards, and make paternity and maternity leave equal, so that men and women both have the option to hit pause on their careers knowing the playing field is equal when they return.

These are just some considerations that can be implemented into your company. My big ask is that diversity isn’t used as a tool for external marketing, but authentically with the ambition to drive real change internally and externally.

Ada Lovelace Day is a day to celebrate women's achievements in science, technology and engineering, inspired by the woman who created the world's first computer algorithm.

Celebrate your employee differences, support them in all their career needs and look to create the next Ada Lovelace that all young women can look up to.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.