Companies are making a conscious effort to improve the diversity of their teams. A more diverse and inclusive workplace not only offers interpersonal benefits, it also contributes to an organization’s overall financial performance and growth.

Within IT, business leaders are especially motivated to build stronger and less homogenous teams. A new survey commissioned by York Solutions found that 87% of IT leaders believe improving diversity within IT departments is important, and 65% say it is very or extremely important. The IT unemployment rate is even lower than the national average across industries – just 2% – and companies that are expanding their talent pool to include non-traditional candidates gain a strong competitive advantage.

Senior IT leaders recognize the advantages of building diverse teams, but most feel only somewhat prepared to move forward with these changes. What are some of the obstacles companies face when trying to make improvements to their teams?

Unconscious bias in the hiring process – implicit ideas about who would or wouldn’t make a good employee – can be a factor. According to an Entrepreneur article, these three actions may be facilitating unconscious bias during recruitment and hiring:

  1. The Wording of the Job Description

Certain words or phrases in a job write-up can attract more male than female candidates (and vice versa). Some companies are now using machine learning technology to analyze job postings for biased language and offer suggestions for more gender-neutral descriptions.

  1. The Interview Process

How companies interview applicants can also give male candidates an advantage over female clients. Confidence is seen as a positive trait during an interview, but what is perceived as confidence in a man can easily be interpreted as being “bossy” or “pushy” for a woman. A restructured interview that includes work-sample tests and comparative evaluation may help even out unconscious gender bias.

  1. The Salary Negotiation

The pay gap between men and women still exists (women working full-time were paid 80% of what men were in 2015). But companies can take a proactive approach to identify and address any salary discrepancies, committing to offer equal pay for equal work for all employees.

Download York Solutions’ white paper, Addressing Diversity Boosts Competitive Advantage for IT Companies, to learn how to develop an effective diversity strategy.