UX is a critical factor that can make or break a product in many industries. A diverse team bring a wealth of perspectives, ideas and creativity, ultimately contributing to a more robust and innovative user experience. Despite strides in workplace diversity, gender imbalances persist, particularly in leadership roles. In this blog post, I have outlined some key factors to build gender-diverse UX teams.

Equity in UX: A Standout in Tech

UX design stands out as a beacon of gender equity within the broader tech industry. At entry and mid-level positions, teams often showcase an excellent gender balance (45 % of UX Designers in the UK are women, and this number is climbing still). However, the challenge lies in maintaining this diversity at leadership and management levels. Recognising and celebrating existing diversity at mid-level positions and identifying promotable individuals is crucial.

Clear Progression Paths: Nurturing Talent from Within

To bridge the gender gap at the leadership level, employers need to build clear progression paths for their employees. Women in the workforce often face unique challenges that can hinder career advancement. Leaders who identify and implement these challenges will create an environment that promotes equal opportunities for career growth. Recognising and promoting talented women already within the business is a strategic move to enhance gender diversity. Of course, there is an issue both with women not being promoted in the first place, and women not being developed in their careers enough to be considered for this option.

Retention of female talent is a complex issue, often tied to company culture. Addressing this involves creating inclusive and supportive work environments that value diversity and provide equal opportunities for career development. An inclusive work environment will support colleagues with family commitments, allow them to work flexibly and also recognise opportunities for mentorship and networking.

Active Sourcing to Reduce Bias: The Recruitment Partner Approach

Application data reveals a stark reality – women are less likely to apply for tech jobs. By actively headhunting qualified women to apply, organisations create a more inclusive candidate pool. Specifically using a trusted recruitment partner who are skilled in removing bias from the selection and interview process, hiring teams scope out talent based on the skills and fit appropriately.

Women on average are usually offered salaries that are £10,000 less than their male counter parts in UX – this is another great reason why active sourcing via a recruitment company is an excellent solution to close the gender pay gap. Having access to market salary data (contact me for more information in our UX Salary Guide), means that female candidates will enter the market with fair salary expectations and hiring managers will have a better understanding of market rates regardless of gender.

The Referral Dilemma: Breaking the Cycle

Referrals play a significant role in hiring (one third, according to payscale), but they can inadvertently result in a lack of diversity. Men are more likely to refer other men, leading to a cycle of one-sided growth. Actively challenging this cycle by implementing diversity referral schemes and targeted strategies to source gender diverse candidate pools can break the referral bias, contributing to a more diverse and inclusive team.

Conclusion: Shaping the Future of UX

Building gender-diverse UX teams requires a multifaceted approach. Employers and hiring teams that take steps to not only understand the barriers faced by women, but make conscious efforts to supporting gender diversity when hiring, will certainly achieve true balance.

If you are struggling to strike a balance with your talent in your Design team, let’s have a chat about your strategy.

Harry Salles
Recruitment Consultant – Design

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