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Hybrid Working: A Barrier to Women’s Tech Career progression?

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Hybrid Working: A Barrier to Women’s Tech Career progression?

Glass ceilings aren’t shattered by hollow promises – many of the sturdiest hybrid working models still suffer from the age-old biases that stand in the way of gender parity, regardless of what those biases look like.

In the tech industry, (where women leave their positions at a 45% higher rate than men) eliminating these biases is critical if we want to start repairing the defective career ladder and remove the barriers that stand in the way of meaningful progression.

Why do the negative aspects of hybrid working disproportionately affect women in the first place? Why are the tech biases of yesteryear migrating to the hybrid working environment, and what can we do about it?

Proximity Bias

Proximity bias (employers giving preferential treatment to in-person employees) isn’t a brand-new concept, but it has taken the limelight in recent years as an increasing number of companies make the move to hybrid working models.

The data-backed truth of proximity bias represents a particularly worrying prospect for tech. In the United States, women make up just 26.7% of tech-related jobs, resulting in a lack of visibility even before the lens of remote work is applied.

Hybrid workplaces need to be built for inclusivity or risk losing their talent, dulling their competitive edge, and missing out on the immense benefits that come with the diversity of thought.

The business case for diversity is plain to see, and we know what needs to be done to improve the current landscape. It starts with our attitudes, our polices and our education.

At SODA, our mission has always been to build workforces that represent the diverse world we live in. Our Women in DevOps community network has helped us amplify the voices of women in the tech space, driving visibility and empowering others with the self-confidence they need to thrive within the industry.

A Higher Risk of Burnout?

Burnout is real and rampant in the tech space, and it’s affecting women at higher rates than men – in a report by TrustRadius, 78% of women feel they need to work harder than their male coworkers just to get noticed.

Whether that’s down to the existence of ‘bro culture,’ a lack of personalized support, the 173 additional hours spent on unpaid childcare globally, (Bloomberg, 2021) or the compounding effects of a post-COVID world on gender equality in the workplace, there are plenty of detrimental factors that lead to increased levels of burnout for women.

In the hybrid era, combatting this burnout requires organizations to embrace a working model that caters for the unique needs of the individual.

Now is the time to revisit hybrid working strategies – it’s clear that the existing models need rearranging, and as tech giants continue to urge their workers to return to work, (The Economist, 2022) the need for experimenting with new methodologies has never been so important. Avoiding a ‘worst of both worlds’ situation depends on it.

Toxic Workplace Cultures Translate to the Remote Environment

Gender bias and societal stereotypes are not unique to the office environment. If a company has a rotten culture that platforms toxicity, it translates seamlessly into remote working too, regardless of whether the means of communication differ.

Communication is the key to success, as is eliminating the harmful elements of a culture that makes women in tech invisible.

Microaggressions aren’t limited to in-person confrontations, nor is mansplaining or harassment. According to Deloitte’s 2022 Women@Work report, 50% of women experienced some form of harassment in the workplace.

Raising awareness and combatting bias through training and mentorship programs is a crucial first step. Revisiting policies implementing an infrastructure that specifically supports women is a must, and for this to happen, organizations need to hold themselves accountable.

It’s not just women that can make the difference. Everyone has a part to play in building a more equitable future.

Networks and allies are essential – we established Women in DevOps in 2017 to develop a platform that amplifies women’s voices everywhere, and it’s since grown into a global movement of over 14,000 members.

Hosting networking events and panel discussions all over the world has helped our community thrive and raise awareness for the wealth of achievements made by women in the DevOps space.

If you want to make a difference of your own and join a growing community that breaks down barriers and drives positive change, come and get involved today, we’re excited to meet you.

Hybrid Working can Work for Everyone

Hybrid working can work, provided the transparency, the policy and the infrastructure is there to support the needs of the individual. No two working experiences are the same, (in a hybrid sense or otherwise) so solutions must reflect the very best of the flexibility that a hybrid model can promise, not the worst.

As technology advances, the practical barriers to effective hybrid working will start to disappear – organizations must ensure that these barriers stay down at every cornerstone of the business.

If you’re looking for an opportunity of your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to SODA, an exciting world of tech awaits you.