Let's #BreakTheBias - A Conversation with Josh KellyMeet Josh, a Managing Consultant at Parallel, specialising in Software recruitment within Scandinavia. Here, Josh discusses how he breaks the bias.
Is there a high recruitment demand for women in tech in Scandinavia?
If you find a female developer, they are gold dust. You know, that sounds lovely, you can get that person a job much easier. So, there is gender bias in the sense that the clients I work with get a lot more excited when I say that I am working with a female developer who is great for a role they are trying to fill. When I introduce them to a female developer, the clients I work with are more excited, because they are all pushing that diversification.
But in general, the tech industry is still male-dominated, but I obviously work the Scandinavian market, and I would actually say that there are more female developers than in other regions, particularly in Stockholm.
What kind of gender bias do you encounter in your work as a recruiter for your market?
Generally speaking, HR is normally more female-dominated in Scandinavia. So, it’s quite interesting coming in as a male recruiter, as sometimes clients think that I will not perform in my job as well as the female recruiters out there.
As a manager, what conscious efforts are you making to ensure that you're creating a team that is inclusive, where everyone feels heard and an equal part of the team?
It is difficult when you have a team full of men and then you hire a female to join your team. It does change the dynamic, and it really shouldn't. Subconsciously you can feel yourself changing your approach, as in maybe you are more considerate or gentle so that you don’t seem aggressive. As a male manager, you do need to be conscious of your approach because you don’t want to play into the bias that women are “more sensitive." It's all about heightening your awareness and challenging yourself when you recognise bias.
I had a hiring manager the other day say to me, “why are you telling me that this developer is a female? It doesn’t matter, as long as the developer can do the job, let’s get an interview booked in.” It’s comments like that that make me feel positively.
How do you prevent bias on a manager-level within your team, with regards to the recruitment process and within our office walls?
Well, I start by calling my teammates out when I see any bias as they talk me through some candidates that they have in process. I start off with asking how they conducted their search, why they think those professionals are right for the role, etc. If I see any bias applied to their recruitment processes, I try to make my consultants aware so that they can prevent this bias permeating into their work again.
Do you feel positively about the direction that the Scandinavian tech industry is going in, in terms of striving for more diversity in the workplace?
I had a hiring manager the other day say to me, “why are you telling me that this developer is a female? It doesn’t matter, as long as the developer can do the job, let’s get an interview booked in.” It’s comments like that that make me feel positively. It means that we are getting to the place we need to be, where we have clients interviewing candidates who have the skillset and ambition suited for a role.
There’s definitely a point to mention here as well – a recruiter should not be sending over solely female candidates, because everyone is equal and should be treated as such in hiring processes. It's good to be talking about diversity and having conversations that need to be had about treating women equally, but ultimately, you don't want to go too far the other way where you find yourself giving special treatment. I think that defeats the purpose of what gender equality is trying to achieve and could actually have more of a negative impact than a positive one.
How do you pledge to break the bias in the workplace?
We could alleviate bias best we can as long as you treat everybody the same and treat everybody with being but it's just it's just obviously making sure that everybody is respectful of each other.
Want to speak more about this with Josh? Connect with Josh on LinkedIn or send him an email.