Despite laws that prohibit discrimination and harassment, women are still underrepresented in traditionally male dominated occupations. For example in the skilled trades, women constitute less than 3% of the workforce. Even at the apprenticeship level, women represent only 7% of the workforce. This is not just in the trades, accordingly to Dr. Anita Borg, President and Founding Director of the Institute for Women and Technology, There is a drop in percentage of women getting bachelor degrees in computer science and engineering. If you look at any engineering field, it's quite low. If you take the average over all of engineering, 11% are women engineers. 
To counter this trend, the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women offers these recruitment strategies and resources, compiled from a list of organizations whose focus is on increasing the number of women in non-traditional occupational areas. There are many more resources than those listed here. Each listing has its own suggestions and additional links and information. We encourage employers to develop, explore and utilize these resources and strategies. It takes a strong commitment from the top of an organization to make recruiting women a priority.
EMPLOYER STRATEGIES FOR RECRUITING WOMEN
- Recruitment Process
- Successful recruitment takes time. Allow enough time to spread the word and obtain a diverse pool of applicants. Make sure the job announcement is given to as wide an audience as possible and go beyond standard employment listings.
- Job announcements, especially the description of the organization, can be used as a marketing device. Include reasons why women or minorities might want to work at your organization.
- Sending out job announcements alone is a bare minimum approach and will not generally produce a sufficiently diverse applicant pool, especially when attempting to attract women to nontraditional positions. Make calls to groups or contacts who may help spread the word. Make follow-up calls on leads. Personal contact is crucial to success.
- Use the Internet effectively to attract women applicants. Consider creating a women's page and ask viewers to sign up to be put on a mailing list. Send e-mails to the list about the application process. Provide FAQs and offer to answer any questions.
- Make sure that the recruitment staff is diverse and includes women and minorities.
- Recruitment Policy and Organization Policy
- Revise recruitment policy to ensure it supports diversity in more than name only.
- Eliminate all unnecessary qualifications which do not closely relate to the job and any possible discriminatory requirements.
- Ensure that publications (e.g., website, brochures, flyers, etc.) have visual images of women employees.
- Create an incentive or reward program for employees who attend any kind of workshops and conferences which benefit women's career development.
- Include female role models at career expo and discussion panels. Put their real success stories on the website.
- Announcement and Messaging
- Announce to all employees the organization's strong policy statement that prohibits unlawful discrimination and supports women in nontraditional jobs.
- Send strong and positive messages about hiring women to the public. In recruitment materials, be sure to include messages that specifically include women applicants and visual images of working women.
- Do a series of interviews or focus groups with current women employees to gather their suggestions and solicit their support for recruitment efforts.
- Find out what attracted them to the workplace and why they stay.
- Conduct a statistical gender analysis of the selection process in order to determine whether women are being disproportionately screened out at any stage.
- Obtain the most updated information on the labor market pool and compare this your employment data.
- Review the recruitment process and suggest improvements after a job has been filled by asking what worked, and what needs improvement.
- Long Term Strategy
- Approach colleges with occupational education programs in their communities or/and internship programs. Develop a collaborative goal of recruiting female students.
- Create internship programs, preferably paid, to encourage career exploration.
- Support of Women Employees And Retention
- Ensure that proper facilities and equipment are available for women employees (e.g., women's bathrooms, appropriate-sized uniforms, etc.).
- Address key issues that commonly affect women, such as sexual harassment, job assignment and promotion, family care, transportation, and health and safety concerns.
- Review the organization's policies on sexual harassment, pregnancy, and childcare.
- Encourage support groups for women.
- Establish a policy of pairing women with mentors.
- On an ongoing basis monitor the progress of the organization in preparing the workplace for women
CASE STUDY: Dramatic Results from Less Than a Day of Recruitment
The Maui Economic Development Board's Women in Technology Project (WIT) was launched in 1999 with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. Employers and labor unions had indicated that they had never succeeded at attracting qualified female applicants, and that they surely had never had more than 10% female applicants. Historically, women entering non-traditional occupations have lacked access to the old-boys network through which most positions are filled. 
WIT knew that the greatest barrier to women entering non-traditional occupations was that they do not have access to the predominantly male informal networks that would make them aware of job opportunities. The main focus of WIT's recruitment strategy was to make sure that qualified female applicants learned of career opportunities. The first labor union WIT assisted with recruitment was the Laborers' International Union of North America-Maui Local.
Flyer with Female Image
The first way that WIT helped was by developing a flyer with a prominent image of a female construction laborer and the heading Female Applicants Wanted for Laborer Apprenticeship! The flyer also gave information about the specific wage range for apprentices, benefits, the application process, and the dates applications would be accepted.
Fax with Image & Stats
WIT then compiled a fax list of over 200 women-serving organizations, cultural organizations, day care providers, social service providers, health service providers, housing agencies, welfare and unemployment offices, grocery stores, health clubs, Laundromats, and beauty salons. WIT developed a cover sheet for the fax that included an image of a female construction worker and explained briefly that women are underrepresented in apprenticeships, that apprenticeships offer paid on-the-job training with benefits, and that most traditionally male apprenticeship fields offer significantly better pay than traditionally female occupations. The cover sheet asked the recipient to copy, circulate and post the flyer and to notify potentially qualified female applicants. WIT faxed the flyer with cover sheet to the fax list of over 200 organizations, as well as hand-delivered 100 flyers on bright yellow paper to the local workforce development office, public housing office, and welfare-to-work office.
WIT also drafted a press release to the local media with the title Female Apprenticeship Applicants Sought by Laborers' Union that resulted in a story the Sunday before recruitment opened. WIT also copied the text of the fax cover sheet and flyer into an email and distributed the email to its distribution list of over 500 people, including the state and county Commissions on the Status of Women.
The results of the implementation of these albeit basic recruitment strategies were dramatic. Based upon WIT's minimal efforts for the Laborers' International Union of North America-Maui Local, designing and faxing out a flyer with cover sheet and writing a press release, over half of their apprenticeship applicants were women and 6 women made it through pre-apprenticeship training and were placed into apprenticeships. The time invested in these recruitment efforts was minimal. It took about 2 hours to compose the fax list, another hour to design the flyer, and an hour to design the fax cover sheet and send out the faxes. It took about an hour to write and submit the press release and another hour to copy and hand-deliver flyers. The key to any successful recruitment strategy has been making employers recognize the value and return on investment in seeking out well qualified female workers.
|African-American Women in Technology (AAWT) |
Ø Offers supports for African-American women in the information technology field. Fee required for membership. Members are eligible for job search services, online learning courses, and a mentoring program. The membership fee is needed.
The American Association for the Advanced Science (AAAS), Science Careers.
Ø Provides job listings and information about workshops and career fairs. Employers can post jobs and search resumes from a database. The organization supports minority scientists' networks and job searches.
1200 New York Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20005
American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)
Ø Provides various support for higher education and career development. The membership fee is $25 for college students, $65 for professional members per year. Members can put their resumes in the database, and employers can post jobs..
2305 Renard SE, Suite 200
Albuquerque, NM 87106
Phone: (505) 765-1052, Fax: (505) 765-5608
America's Job Bank
Ø A nation-wide job search site operated by the U.S. Department of Labor in partnership with state-operated Public Employment Services. Contains government and private sector job openings.
Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI)
Ø Offers services for women in technology fields including computer science and engineering, information technology, software, networking and electronics in both the public and private sectors. Website gives detailed advice for job interviews and provides links to well-known job websites.1501 Page Mill Road, MS 1105 Palo Alto, Ca 94304 Phone: (650) 236-4756, Fax: (650) 852-8172 http://www.anitaborg.org/