Bridging The Gender Diversity Gap at Appsilon
Appsilon’s core purpose is to “advance technology to preserve and improve human life.” As such, we are a positive mission-driven company rather than a purely profit-driven enterprise. Part of having a positive mission is to work towards correcting injustice in the world where we see it, rather than passively exacerbating it. We believe that the lack of gender diversity in the tech industry is an unjust and pervasive problem that should be addressed.
In this article, we consider the problem itself and discuss our efforts towards bridging the gender gap in our own team in the following order:
Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion in the Tech World
On top of mitigating the gender diversity gap in tech simply being the right thing to do, there is an abundance of data showing that increasing diversity also increases revenue. Diverse teams produce 19% more revenue (The Mix That Matters. Innovation Through Diversity, BCG 2017), while companies with more than 30% women executives are more likely to outperform companies where this percentage is lower (Diversity wins: How inclusion matters, McKinsey 2020).
We strongly believe that the best technology comes from diverse teams, where people with different perspectives, experiences and ideas come together to find solutions and craft new, revolutionary ideas.
At the same time, we are aware that only a small percentage of women decide to study computer science and related STEM fields. In the USA, it is 18% (Anatomy of an Enduring Gender Gap, 2015). In Poland it is even less – only 15% (Kobiety na Politechnikach, 2021).
The reason for this disparity is an entirely different story than the disparity itself. However, there is a lot of worrying data about the difficulties women experience when considering a career in what is currently a male-dominated field. They can face a number of issues – from salary discrepancies to microaggressions stemming from gender stereotypes.
49% of female tech professionals in the UK have experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace (Studio Graphene, 2020). In the USA this percentage ranges from 20% to 48% in STEM jobs (PEW Research Center, 2017). Women also point to gender discrimination as one of the reasons for slower progress at work, along with limited growth opportunities and delays in promotions.
What are we doing to increase gender diversity?
We are focusing our diversity efforts at the top of the funnel – this means that we are working to bridge the gender gap in our tech team by improving the diversity of the people that apply to us while eliminating bias in our hiring practices. In other words, an increase in the percentage of the number of women on our team should be a natural result of a higher percentage of female applicants, rather than a result of selection processes that proactively select for gender during the recruitment process. Gender is not a factor when selecting resumes, assessing candidate tasks, or extending offers. Rather, we aim to make our job offers more accessible to women and make our work environment more friendly to female professionals.
We believe that if we want to attract and retain talented female tech professionals, we need to try extra hard to make sure we reach them with our messaging. As there are fewer such candidates on the job market, they will be harder to reach. We are focusing our engagement and partnership efforts in communities with a higher representation of female engineers. We also want to make sure that we are a truly welcoming, inclusive, friendly, and fair company to work for.
To attract female candidates, we are putting a lot of effort into the way we phrase our job adverts and how we promote them. Did you know women are less likely to apply for jobs than men if they do not fit 100% of the listed criteria? We are also very aware of unconscious bias in the recruitment process, and we are working on mitigating bias in either direction with blind task reviews and other safeguards.
At Appsilon, no applicant will be hired or rejected during the recruitment process as a result of their gender.
Our pledge to all our candidates – no matter their gender!
EQUAL PAY AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
From the moment you apply to Appsilon, you know what salary brackets you can expect. We have a career guideline, describing each step in the career ladder and the possible remuneration. At Appsilon we have defined the path for progression in tech roles, where each stage requires a certain set of skills. We make sure all team members are aware of the different grades and specializations.
We have female project leaders, female tech leaders, and a female COO. As a tech professional you will get to experience working with different types of managers. As a woman – you will not be the only one in the room. We talk about challenges for female team members because we know being underrepresented in the office and working in the male-dominated workforce comes with its own challenges. That is why we also make sure there are both female and male colleagues participating in our recruitment process.
- SUPPORT FOR PARENTS
At Appsilon we have flexible working hours, so you can choose the best time for you to do the work. We are a remote-first company, which means you can work from anywhere in the world. We also believe that your family and your children come first. If they need you, feel free to take time off to be with them. If you are going on parental leave, we will be happy for you and wait until you are ready to return. Appsilon currently employs many team members with young children, so we are aware of and adapt to the challenges of work-life harmony. We even have a separate slack channel where we share pictures of our kids.
CHANCE TO WORK ON INTERESTING AND IMPACTFUL PROJECTS
We provide innovative data analytics and machine learning solutions for Fortune 500 companies, NGOs, and non-profit organizations. We deliver the world’s most advanced R Shiny applications. Using proprietary machine learning frameworks, we provide Computer Vision, NLP, and fraud detection prototypes in as little as one week. We make sure all team members get equal access to projects they are interested in.
INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE AND NON-VIOLENT COMMUNICATION
We strongly believe that words matter and how we use them creates our reality. That is why we are determined to use inclusive, non-discriminatory language at all times. This means respecting your chosen pronouns, avoiding the use of gender-specific terms when addressing a mixed group or any gender-discriminatory phrases. We strive to communicate with empathy and understanding, for that very reason the whole team has undergone non-violent communication training. We listen and give an opportunity to speak to everybody in equal measures.
A PLATFORM TO SHOWCASE YOUR WORK
We make sure all our employees get a chance to present their work and speak on behalf of the company. We actively encourage female colleagues to participate in international conferences, to increase the visibility of female tech professionals. Olga Mierzwa-Sulima (presentation at RSTUDIO::GLOBAL), Maria Grycuk (speech at upcoming UseR 2021), Anna Skrzydło and Julia Krysztofiak-Szopa (mentors during Hack4Girlz hackathon) are all examples of our female team members active involvement in tech events around the world.
Ahead of the Curve
As more and more companies realize the added value that comes with improved gender diversity in the workforce, we will hopefully see a shift in women’s participation in all types of jobs and positions. In the future, it might also mean more women deciding to study all subjects currently perceived as “male domains.” For the time being, we are hoping to get ahead of the curve and fight to make Appsilon a more welcoming place for female applicants, listen to the needs of all our employees, and create a truly diverse and inclusive company culture.
Appsilon is hiring for remote roles! See our Careers page for all open positions, including a React Developer and R Shiny Developers. Join Appsilon and work on groundbreaking projects with the world’s most influential Fortune 500 companies.