In the blogosphere and in the press, there is an increasing notice about the lack of women in technical fields and management positions. Here is some data:
Why women leave tech: what the research says by Sue Gardner. Read Visualizing Silicon Valley’s Lack of Diversity. Notice that tech is overwhelmingly white and male. It does not reflect the society in which we live.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Our field got this way because we let our unconscious prejudices decide for us. Did you see this?
In Hiring Geeks That Fit, I talk about how you learn about your prejudices and how you account for them.
We know that diverse teams create better products. We know—and if you have been on a multi-gender, multi-cultural team, people-with-diverse-backgrounds you have this experience—creating products is more fun, faster, and easier. Why? Because you don’t get into group-think. You have more opportunities for ideas. You have people who, while they fit the corporate culture enough, have diverse experience creating products. You discover and create your way to a better outcome.
Can you get a great product with—excuse me—all white males under the age of 30? Of course. Can you get it with a diverse team of all kinds of people of all ages? Yes. In my experience, it’s faster and easier.
What can you do, if you want to keep or build the great culture you already have? You are sure you can’t find any women?
First, don’t be so sure. You might want to watch How Etsy Increased Diversity in Its Engineering Department: An Interview with Marc Hedlund. It’s a long video, so here are the main ideas:
Marc had other things to say about Hacker School, the culture of recruiting, how candidates perceive you, the Pygmalion effect and more. You should listen to the entire 43-minute video.
What should you do? Well, you could read Hiring Geeks That Fit. In the book, I explain how to do all of this, except how to help candidates negotiate for reasonable salaries. I do some of that here, on this blog.
If you don’t want my help, start with evaluating/assessing your interview process, from soup to nuts. Ask yourself these questions:
Ask yourself those questions. You will be on your way to increasing diversity for women. I’ll deal with ageism in my next post.
Is it time for you to look for a new job? Or, thinking about looking for a new job? If so, you want to know about two tools: understanding your career anchors and mining your career timeline.
I just read about Edgar Schein’s Career Anchors. The 8 anchors are:
The idea is that you decide which anchors best reflect your personality. Then, you review your current job. You see how well your current job matches what you want. Now you can decide what to do.
If you are stuck in jobs that don’t fit for you, and you have not tried the career timeline activity, which includes looking at your values and culture in Manage Your Job Search, do that. You need a job (and a career) that fits your values. You might look at the career anchors, too. Maybe you’ve been in the wrong roles all along.
We talk a lot in agile about generalizing specialists. Scott Ambler has a terrific essay on what a generalizing specialist is:
- Has one or more technical specialties…
- Has at least a general knowledge of software development.
- Has at least a general knowledge of the business domain in which they work.
- Actively seeks to gain new skills in both their existing specialties as well as in other areas, including both technical and domain areas
(From Scott Ambler’s essay, http://www.agilemodeling.com/essays/generalizingSpecialists.htm)
How do you hire one of these mythical people?
First, they are not mythical. They are real. Second, you do a job analysis, just as you would for any job. Third, you would look at how they have acquired skills throughout their careers.
What does this mean for the hiring manager and/or recruiter?
Remember, you want generalizing specialists. True specialists introduce a cost of delay into your projects. They end up with a queue of work and they introduce a delay, or they multitask.
A undergraduate student sent me this survey about finding a job. I said I would post it for him.
If you are looking for a job, please help this Italian undergrad, studying business in Lisbon.
I am not affiliated with this program. I am doing this to help a student. Pietro, the student in question, sent me a nice email, so I thought I would help him out.