The (female) IT Crowd

Looking over our placement statistics for the last 12 months I’ve noticed a surprising trend – around a third of the people we have placed in permanent employment are women. Not surprising at all, you might think, but if were to tell you that we recruit exclusively within the IT sector, this statistic is perhaps more surprising than it initially appears.

The IT industry, of course, has its stereotypes – the introverted programmer that bangs out code with headphones on. The proverbial ‘geek’ as portrayed in sitcoms like The IT Crowd. The hacker with their own conspiracy theories blog. I wonder how many of those we picture as females? Not many, I expect. There is still a gender bias in IT, whether the stereotypes are true or not. Women make up about 17% of the IT workforce here in the UK. (Source: FDM Group) According to a study in 2014 among UK firms, half the companies surveyed reported that around one in twenty applicants for IT roles was female. (Source: Deloitte)

Is that statistic starting to sound more remarkable yet?

A super woman, probably working in an IT role!

Women in IT

So what’s different with Blues Point? Well, for the last couple of years we have worked in a way that is quite different from the traditional recruitment agency business model. Recruitment remains our focus, but rather than matching candidates to the role based just on their CV, we also offer clients insight into their motivation and behaviour, using a range of psychometric tools including the Thomas International Personality Profile Analysis and Motivational Maps. Having the right behaviours for the role is highly important in terms of retaining top performers – if they are not a good fit, you are likely to end up having to replace them sooner rather than later.

Retaining top performers is as important as identifying them in the first place, and we can help our clients to do this by understanding what motivates their team members.

Behavioural assessments

This isn’t directly correlated to the number of women we’ve placed of course, but we have found that since we have adopted this approach, the gender balance has begun to shift. Perhaps this is because the behavioural based approach removes any inherent gender bias – rather, it offers additional insight into every individual on the client’s shortlist, and allows them to make an informed decision on which person is the best fit for the job. And it might not be the person that looks best on paper, or even the one who best fits the stereotype. Lots of people are good at being interviewed – that doesn’t always mean they will make the best employee (and perhaps they’ve had rather too much interview practice).

The behavioural based approach is tried and tested, and allows our clients to have confidence their new team members have the aptitude to learn the ropes at the required pace, and to add value to the business when the time comes. And by keeping them motivated and happy, they will retain them in the business. They are building teams for the future, rather than just trying to fill job vacancies.