It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the tech sphere, making up just 26 percent of the computing workforce in 2013. This is despite the fact that recent studies, such as those conducted by Terem Technologies, have shown that women-led private tech companies achieve a return on investment 35 percent higher than male-led companies.
With the gender gap continuing to increase and the number of women in leadership roles declining across the wider business sphere, a number of startups dedicated to helping women in the workforce have begun to emerge.
Launched in May, Melbourne startup Diverse City Careers (DCC) is one of them, providing support to women looking for work by engaging exclusively with organisations that focus on initiatives to keep women in the workforce. Unlike SEEK they are selective in looking for companies that share the same values of gender diversity.
The idea came to founders Gemma Lloyd and Valeria Ignatieva after they reflected upon their own experiences in the work force.
“I didn’t always have the same confidence as I do today. I will always remember my first corporate job, where male colleagues asked me to get them stationary and coffees. They were in the same role as me, but I was treated like their assistant. I’m surprised at just how prevalent this behaviour is and want to help other women overcome similar experiences,” said Lloyd.
They decided to create a job board that filters and accepts companies that are supportive of women. DCC clients go through a screening process to ensure they are in support of creating better ways of working.
DCC wants to challenge the business opportunities offered to women by selecting companies who provide programs that make a difference in raising the number of working women in IT. These initiatives can include mentoring programs, internal sponsorship and leadership development.
While these programs are important for boosting the number of women in the workforce – and keeping them there – the founders also believe that the benefit isn’t just for women; companies can benefit enormously from having a more diverse workplace too.
“There has never been more competition around hiring top talent. In a sea of generic recruitment agencies and millions of jobs advertised, it’s important for employers to do something different and stand out. Employees are looking for something more, particularly women,” Lloyd said.
DCC also provides numerous workshops for women around the country to discuss with like-minded women issues that they face in the workforce and strategies to combat them.
Other startups like FlexCareers have also partnered with companies that offer women flexible working solutions. Their platform is also similar to DCC, with an easy to navigate job board that outlines desired roles for women that are matched with a specially designed algorithm.
While DCC’s idea isn’t the only one on the market, it is in the minority of initiatives targeted towards closing the gender remuneration gap. Currently bootstrapping, DCC are making enough revenue from clients including Dropbox and PwC, with Ignatieva stressing that the startup must be selective in its choice of companies who want more than just to advertise their job.
DCC were named as finalists in the 2015 ARN Woman in ICT Awards. They were the only Australian owned, female led startup in the ‘Innovation’ category, sitting alongside well-known tech companies including IBM, Microsoft and Lenovo.
Ignatieva said that being named as finalists was proof women can succeed if given the opportunity.
“This week we are very honoured to be named as finalists,” she said. “Over the years, we’ve encountered the roadblocks that most women encounter…including navigating flexible working conditions.”
Image: DCC cofounders Valeria Ignatieva and Gemma Llyod