Switzerland topped the world rankings for women’s rights back in 2019, a remarkable feat of progression considering the nation had legalised women’s suffrage just 41 years earlier.
Despite a turbulent journey (some women had to wait until as late as 1991 to vote), Switzerland has cemented its status as a global leader in gender equity in recent years.
In many aspects, the past has proved to be a barrier in many areas of the modern workforce, particularly in the tech space, where women account for just 20.2% of employees (the highest since 1994).
According to our research, there are around 20,000 vacancies in the Swiss tech talent market. Machine learning, FinTech, MedTech, and AI engineering in particular are burdened by a lack of access to candidates – creating a tech landscape capable of attracting, retaining, and training women is part of a much wider, diversity-focussed solution. How do we do it?
Several influences compound to prevent greater gender representation in the workforce, including a poor recruitment methodology. In many cases, this has resulted in male-dominated company cultures, creating undesirable workplace environments for women.
While fixing a biased recruitment process is essential, it’s not enough to simply hire from gender-diverse shortlists – steps must be taken to ensure employees are supported throughout the entire talent lifecycle.
Plus, Switzerland’s proportion of women STEM graduates is lower than the EU’s average at 25.4%. If routes into tech aren’t being made accessible to women at a younger age, action must be taken to rectify its consequences (i.e., alternative hiring practices, such as the train-and-deploy model).
Closing the Gap
The gender gap is a complex challenge that employers will struggle to approach without a multi-faceted strategy. We’ve seen some incredible initiatives over the years, and they’ve been successful by addressing a few key areas:
Platforming – when there’s a distinct lack of role models, it’s difficult to know what is and what isn’t possible for your career. We once heard it put as ‘when you stay inside your lane, it’s hard to see outside of it.’ Businesses that successfully attract and retain women typically platform their people, raise their voices, and improve their visibility so that others get a chance to see what’s possible outside of their lane.
Unconscious Bias Training – unconscious bias is highly detrimental to the quality of not only the hiring process but every facet of an organisation. Overcoming this results in a more equitable working environment, and it tends to require training to achieve.
Challenging the Status Quo – we’ve seen plenty of great companies challenge the status quo by adopting alternative hiring methodologies. In many instances, this has enabled organisations to favour coachability and potential over experience, resulting in access to a wider and more diverse talent pool. This often works best when it’s paired with dedicated academy support and professional development opportunities.
Mentorship Initiatives – by encouraging mentorship amongst their employees, we’ve seen organisations make great strides in fostering more inclusive working environments. Mentorship doesn’t need to focus on skill sharing alone; it can be a great way for people to bring their cultural experiences to light too. An especially effective method is mutual mentorship, which can grant junior-level employees a chance to interact meaningfully with decision-makers.
Partnering with Educational Institutions – forming academic partnerships is a superb way to inspire young women to embark on tech careers at an earlier age. For example, we’ve seen companies host career fairs to create routes into the workforce for younger generations.
The benefits of a gender-diverse workforce are well-documented – from a heightened sense of belonging to increased productivity and a better brand value proposition, diversity and inclusion are no longer nice-to-haves, they’re necessities.
Studies point to diversity as a key attraction for high-quality candidates, with some going on to say that people are willing to take a salary decrease to work for a company with a better DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) framework.
Support from Trinnovo Group GmbH
We lean on a diverse and wide-reaching network to connect top tech talent with the opportunities they need to thrive. If you’re hoping to meet your diversity targets, plug skill gaps and set a new standard in your space, our consultants are equipped with the means to make it happen.
Our presence as specialised digital tech recruiters in Switzerland has enabled us to work with a range of incredible innovators over the years, and we’ve got the insights and success stories to show for it.
Contact the team here to find out more and we can create a solution that works for your unique needs.