Diversity requires a new hiring approach

To change your team you will need to change recruitment practices -- or women and all diversity candidates will shy away from IT opportunities .

A study across the five largest European economies finds that 34% of women technologists are put off roles by the gender split within recruiting organisations. The report, produced by the security technology specialists Kaspersky Lab calls for there to be greater incentives at universities for women to study technology.

Global technology players like Kaspersky Lab are in a unique position to partner with universities and provide that incentive, they have the skills, the industry contacts and knowledge, and the much-needed financial support for the academic sector.

Promoting greater diversity in technology is important and has to take place at all levels, including university. However the problem exists now, and it is not a challenge academia can solve independently. CIOs and CTOs are highly concerned by outdated hiring practices of the organisations they are tasked with modernising.

Over the 11 years I have been working within the CIO and CTO community, it has become apparent, particularly in the last three years, that existing recruitment practices and existing recruitment providers are the largest parts of the problem. As with everything in life, there are counter cultures and I have had the pleasure of working with recruiters, search providers and CIOs that have successfully challenged the issue.

Sadly, and I am not accusing Kaspersky Lab of this, there is a lot of noise about diversity. There is a lot of efforts to massage tables to give a false sense of achievement in gender diversity. But the truth is, unless organisations completely change the recruitment processes then the challenge will remain.

The existing hiring practices place, quite literally, a minefield in front of potential candidates. Job descriptions are written like the pages of a Haynes Manual (millennials will need to Google this, but some of us wasted weekends under a Mini with these). The deep focus on technologies rather than outcomes in the job specifications fails to convey the pleasure and transformation that technology roles provide.

Far too many roles require multiple years' experience, immediately preventing new blood from entering your organisation and bringing new ideas in. This also places a barrier up within an organisation, how can expertise from finance, operations, marketing and sales bring their experience into a technology outcome if they are required to have an existing background in technology?

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