Are You Hiring Weaker IT Talent If You Get Above 12% Female on Your Staff

So, Stack Overflow came out this week with their annual Developer survey. This survey is the real deal when it comes to IT staffing and data. Over 64,000 IT pros responded to the survey! That’s a giant data set up on hiring trends! You can download the survey results here: Free Guide: Recruiting Developers in 2017. (FYI – they’re not paying me to promote this, it was just fascinating data!)

So, there’s this concept in hiring when you look at pools of talent in a single skill set when it comes to gender. Let’s say you were running a retail chain. Your total employee mix is 70% female, 30% male. When you go to hire leaders you would assume that your leader gender mix would be 70% female and 30% male. But, we know this doesn’t happen.

In fact, in most cases, we see the opposite, 70% male and 30% female leaders selected. What happens when you do this is that you degrade the quality of leaders you are hiring because you are over hiring out of one pool. So, the quality of talent you are pulling from continues to get weaker and weaker. If only 30% of your employees are male, but you’re hiring 70% of your leaders from that small pool, you are statistically more likely to make bad hires.

In IT 88% of employees are male, 12% female (from the study). Thus, the theory would say, if you hire more than 12% female IT workers, you are ‘over’ hiring within one pool and probably getting lower level candidates from that pool.

I know that sounds crappy, right! Everyone hates when data doesn’t tell the story we hoped for! I get it, we all want more females in IT. I want more females in IT. But if you force it, you actually are giving your organization weaker talent, based on the pools available.

Some other super cool things that Stack Overflow was able to pull out of the data: 

– How do IT Pros find their job (called Job Discovery)?

  • 27% Referred by friends, peers, internal employees
  • 18% External Headhunters
  • 14% Contracted
  • 13% Job Board
  • 8.5% College Career Fair
  • 7.7% Visited Career Site directly

What’s missing? Yep! Almost no IT talent is hired by your internal recruiters! This should be super scary for TA Leaders! Go ahead and argue the data – it’s 64,000 IT pros! This is not a lie. Why is this the case? Well, the study also shows that only 13% of IT pros are actively searching for a job at any one time. Most internal recruiters only work with actively searching job candidates, so their pool of talent is very small, to begin with, thus way less hires.

– Job evaluation factors? Those things IT pros find most important when deciding upon which company to go work for. This one will also sting most Corp TA Leaders:

  • #1 – Is this position better for my career and skill set (okay, this is good)
  • #2 – Money fools!
  • The last thing on the list? Diversity. Ouch. IT pros could care less about your diversity initiatives and working in a diverse workforce. We want so badly for this to matter to candidates, but this study says it doesn’t. IT pros care more aobut the reputation of the person they work for, than diversity.

Go download the study for yourself. If you truly understand all of this data it will make it much easier for your organization to hire IT talent. We tend to spend so much time focusing on the wrong things and then struggle to understand why we can’t hire enough or fast enough.




One thought on “Are You Hiring Weaker IT Talent If You Get Above 12% Female on Your Staff

  1. Job success is not about gender.

    Job success breeds good attitudes while job failure breeds bad attitudes.

    We need to hire for job success not attitude.

    80% of employees self-report that they are not engaged.

    80% of managers are ill suited to effectively manage people.

    The two 80 percents are closely related.

    We keep hiring the wrong people to be managers and then we bemoan the fact that so many employees are not engaged.

    The 20% who fit their jobs as managers can create an engaged workforce but if the executives are ill-suited for their jobs, then success may be fleeting.

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