Blind Ambition: Fill The Tech Pipeline With Anonymous Talent For Women To Rise

“The Voice” has blind auditions for singers who aspire to be the next national singing sensation.So why not recruit anonymously in tech and let the talent be the deciding factor before an interview? So gender is not a factor?This is the mission for Gloat (formerly Workey), a tech recruiting company that promises, “One anonymous profile, 500+ tech companies apply to you. From startups to corporate vibes, get to know the most innovative companies out there. See how many companies are interested in you, without knowing your name. Finally get the visibility you need to make your next career move.”Dalit Heldenberg, the head of product for Gloat, out of the company’s Tel Aviv office since 2016, is working to make the playing field even for women in tech, and has spent her professional life doing just that.[bctt tweet=”@Gloat_com is a tech recruiting company that promises an anonymous profile, 500+ tech companies apply to you w/o knowing name, gender, or ethnicity. This aims to give women the same chance as men to score an interview. #WomenInTech” username=“takeleadwomen”]“The AI-based software matches users with open positions so they remain anonymous. The company has no idea what gender or ethnicity the candidate is,” Heldenberg says. “So women are given the same chance to get an interview that men are.”Once a candidate is in the interview, obviously, it is no longer anonymous. But getting to the interview is blind and based on experience and talent not gender.While Heldenberg has been working as a software engineer in Israel starting 15 years ago, she says that the tech industry there is about 30 percent women in top leadership positions, with a much lower rate than that here in the U.S.Still, there are universal challenges for women in tech, including not just access, but a lack of role models, paid family leave, flex time and networking.[bctt tweet=“There are universal challenges for #WomenInTech, including not just access, but a lack of role models, paid family leave, flex time and networking. “ username=“takeleadwomen”]“It is well-known that females in tech companies lag far behind men in a variety of respects, and in almost all sectors of this industry — salary, power, leadership, respect, representation, etc. The gap is dramatic when comparing men and women in tech. For example, only 25 percent of salespeople in tech companies are women. When looking at sales management, the numbers drop to only 12 percent in sales leadership roles,” Dr. Karin Lachmi, Founder and CSO of Bioz, writes in Forbes.The necessity for gender blind hiring is critical in tech, Lachmi writes.“Experiments reveal that when hiring managers and recruiters sort through resumes that are identical, with the only difference being the name, there was a bias toward men. When the name was a male’s, the resume would be given preference over an identical resume with a female’s name. It gets even worse when the identical resume has what is typically the name of a white male.”Opportunity in tech and the lack of gender equity is also reflected in the compensation gap. A new report from Honeypot shows the pay disparities by gender in tech across the world.“As tech recruitment specialists, we are often confronted with the gender imbalances of the industry, which are fully exposed in this study,” writes Emma Tracey, co-founder of Honeypot. “The results reveal the countries which have the most to offer women looking to progress in the tech industry,” according to Campus Technology.“We hope that this study will enrich the conversation concerning equality in this industry and and inspire more women to seek out opportunities in tech,” Tracey writes.As for Heldenberg, she decided in 2011 she wanted to switch careers from being a software engineer to product development. She was successful in her career transition, but says her bigger mission was to promote women in the tech field.“I work with extremely talented women in all sectors and I wanted to do something that would promote more women in tech,” says the mother of two children, ages 4 and 6.In 2014, Heldenberg and her colleagues launched Girls In Tech in Israel, and two years later, created the organization, Lead With, one of the largest tech networking organizations for women in Israel.Motivating  girls to enter tech fields and maintaining mentoring and networking for women in tech fields is crucial.[bctt tweet=“Motivating girls to enter tech fields and maintaining mentoring and networking for women in tech fields is crucial. That is the mission of @GirlsInTech. “ username=“takeleadwomen”]According to The Market Mogul, a recent “OECD brochure reports that for intended career paths before the age of 15, girls are half as likely to aspire a career as an engineer, scientist or architect, but three times more likely to want to become a health professional. Girls are less likely to study STEM subjects at school (64 percent of girls vs. 83 percent of boys) and this continues through university and their careers, according to the “Women in Technology” study by PwC.”According to Market Mogul, “Moreover, they make only 20 percent of STEM graduates, said the OECD. Among the few women who become researchers in STEM, only 20 percent of them are corresponding authors, a proxy for leadership in the world of research. If women are not to be left behind in the ever-expanding tech sector the problem has to be tackled now.”Heldenberg would agree.“I realized one of the challenges was a lack of female role models, so we decided to establish a non-profit to motivate women,” Heldenberg says.Up to 200 women attend the monthly networking events, she says, and in response to the demand, she has recently introduced a new program, Lead With Babies. These regular monthly events are held in the morning, and women are encouraged to bring their small children.“We talk about how to negotiate salary, keep up ambition, learn new skills, keep up on innovation,” all in a child-friendly space, she says. A recent event hosted 70 women and their babies.“Women go on maternity leave and are out of the loop,” she says. “So we come in and fill in the gap so they can stay up to date while on leave.”Heldenberg says that at Gloat where the majority of the top leadership positions are held by women, her parenthood “does not interfere with my managerial role.”“It is not something I have seen before, and it is very parent friendly.”But not all tech companies are as aware, although that is shifting.“There definitely is more awareness that having women in your organization is contributing to their success. My hope is for women to have the same chances of getting into senior positions,” Heldenberg says.George Brasher, the UK and Ireland managing director of IT firm HP, recently told The Guardian: “Having a more diverse team gives you a better chance of winning. At HP we firmly believe that the more points of view a business can draw on, the better its products and the company as a whole will be.”Another program coming out of Lead With is Accelerator, Heldenberg says, that is an eight-week training program for women who want to be founders and CEOs of tech companies.“From early career to mid career,” she says, “women want to be the best they can be. And not let the fact that you are a woman even be part of the equation. Getting more women in STEM and staying there will help.”