The Playbook, which is available for download, features key insights and tactics that tech companies at different stages of development – from startups and scaleups to large enterprises – can adopt to accelerate inclusion and help retain more women.
Insights featured in the Playbook were curated through a qualitative online survey and interviews with 70 leaders from across Canada’s tech sector.
Leaders from startups, scaleups, and large enterprises participated in the study and reflect the unique perspectives that companies of different sizes bring to the table based on their experiences retaining women working in tech.
“Although organizations of all sizes are investing a lot of time, energy, and resources to recruit and hire women, the same cannot be said about women’s experiences once they’re through the door,” says Jodi Kovitz, founder and CEO of #movethedial.
“As a result, women continue to be vastly underrepresented in technology-centric workforces, especially in leadership positions. We developed this Playbook to better understand and communicate how companies of all sizes can move the dial in a way that benefits all women in the tech sector.”
Women comprise 25% of the Canadian tech sector, and while the tech sector is growing, their participation has remained stagnant for the last 10 years. Women are underrepresented, marginalized, and underpaid.
Key findings and calls to action were categorized by company size, and include the following:
- Startups that want to attract and retain people are competing against well-resourced scaleups and big tech companies. These companies create value for employees by offering flexibility and autonomy. When startups get everyone involved in retention, design diverse teams and products, and focus on resourcefulness, they are establishing the foundation for inclusive growth.
- Scaleups, which close the gap between startups and large enterprises in the innovation ecosystem, are setting the stage for technologies that will drive the world’s economies in the next 20 years. Scaleups know how important it is to attract and retain women who want to grow their careers alongside the growth of the company. With this in mind, scaleups are focusing their efforts on employee engagement, designing structure around great practices, and learning how an intersectional approach can further support people in the workplace.
- Large enterprises are also some of the largest tech employers. As influencers, they are setting trends in the tech sector and taking a long-term view on women’s career paths. Large enterprises demonstrate how their resources can be invested to prepare women working in tech for the future of work and how their influence can reimagine existing approaches to mental wellbeing and caregiving to support everyone to better integrate work and life. Successfully integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion across large companies is complex and the role of a Chief Diversity Officer may be one answer.
“We recognize that the resources and constraints facing companies of different sizes will influence how they think about and inevitably take action on these strategies,” says Zak Hemraj, co-founder and CEO of Loopio.
“That said, we think the findings are important to startups, scaleups, and enterprises alike, and we hope that these lessons will flow in multiple directions so that companies of all shapes and sizes can borrow from each other’s experiences.”
Loopio is a scaleup that participated in the Playbook research and provided insights on the intentional steps the company is taking to scale the business while maintaining its inclusive culture.