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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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News & Articles

October 13, 2021 |

Creating a Women-Friendly Workplace

Addressing the challenges female workers face is key to hiring and retention.

WHEN 2.4 MILLION WOMEN left the workforce during the first year of the pandemic, it exacerbated a problem the IT industry and channel have experienced for years—a woefully short supply of female employees. “”Not to say that there’s not amazing work by MSPs who’ve made an impact, [but] theres this disproportionate impact of fewer women being promoted, hired, or starting MSPs,”” says Michelle Ragusa-McBain, global lead, XaaS and MSP, at Cisco.             

While finding and retaining employees of any kind is a challenge for channel pros these days, hiring and advancing women requires company leaders to educate themselves about the challenges female workers face, according to Ursula Mead, CEO at InHerSight, a company ratings platform for women. Here’s how to get started.

Parity Begins at Home

In general, Mead says, various disparities leave women feeling undervalued, yet many companies rely too heavily on women to advocate for themselves. Transparency about where your company stands is important for signaling a sincere effort to fix problems, she notes.

Laura Miller

For current employees, begin by reviewing everyone’s pay, says Laura Miller, CEO of TempDev, a healthcare IT consultancy. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for every dollar a white man earns, an Asian woman doing comparable work earns just 87 cents; white women earn 80 cents; Black women, 63 cents; Native American women, 60 cents; and Hispanic women, 55 cents.

Miller says HR staff (who tend to be women) are acutely aware of unequal pay at work, and other staff who know are often talking about it. So, rectifying pay inequality sends a strong message of support for women.

Creating a company culture supportive of women is also important. For example, women usually bear the brunt of parenting responsibilities and family caregiving, so offer flexible scheduling. “”Eighty percent of women in a survey we ran said they want to be remote at least some of the time post-pandemic,”” says Meade. “”Companies looking to retain or hire women could lose out if they don’t retain some of that extra flexibility.””

Subtler shifts, such as asking women for input when planning outings and events, can help foster a sense of belonging, says Ragusa-McBain. “”Women may like golf and drinking, but might have other interests, she says.”” In addition, instead of over-emphasizing attendance as a signal of commitment, ability, or productivity, recognize that women might not be or feel safe working late hours with few people around, says Miller. 

Laws of Attraction

Be mindful that potential hires will be scrutinizing your policies for clues as to how well they’ll be supported, Miller continues, but first they’ll just look at your head shots in the lobby or on your website.

“”Don’t talk about diversity when we go to your website and leadership is all white guys. It falls on deaf ears and looks like a PR stunt,”” she says. “”Promote women. One of the No. 1 reasons people come to work for us is because women want to work for women.””

Ragusa-McBain notes that not all roles require degrees. Nor should experience from outside traditional tech pathways be an automatic no. “”If you want somebody more experienced, you can look at reverse mentoring,”” or training women to fill some skills gaps, she suggests.

Michelle Ragusa-McBain

Even young women with STEM degrees can feel discouraged from pursuing tech careers, so Ragusa-McBain suggests finding them before they graduate. “”Partners aren’t showing up at career days, even though technology impacts the world so much,”” she says. “”Every company has the ability to hire what they need or what they’re missing and connect with local trade schools and universities.””

If your current resources for posting jobs or seeking referrals aren’t yielding women candidates, Ragusa-McBain recommends the Tech World’s Half Facebook group and CompTIA’s Advancing Women in Technology Interest Group.

Finally, when you do find that great candidate, base your offer on industry norms for her role, advises Ragusa-McBain. Basing the salary offer on her previous employment will likely perpetuate a disadvantage she’s already experienced elsewhere.

Image: iStock

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